Tina and Wade Mather have been robbed. Almost all of the four thousand dollars in their business account has been extracted. Someone got hold of their private data and used it to engage in fake transactions in their name.
This is the age of identity theft. How could Tina and Wade have been so careless as to leave their data vulnerable?
They weren’t careless with their data. The government was.
The state government of South Carolina, in taxing all the residents and business in the state, had a single database of all the tax records with all the information of all the taxpayers going back many years. An international hacker figured the State Revenue Department would be profitable and he broke into their system.
But this isn’t just a story about one state. This is an illustration and an instance of a principle we need to learn. When the government insists on making us vulnerable to its own probing eyes, it makes us visible to the eyes of many others.
Another instance: Back in 1994, Congress passed a law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. CALEA made it illegal to sell telecom hardware that was tamper proof. The government wanted to be able to intercept our phone calls. (Of course, they would only do this with a warrant. I’m sure they pinky-swore about it. Then came the Patriot Act.) So, after CALEA all phone systems in the United States had “backdoor access” in case the government “needed” to spy on someone.
But that didn’t completely work out as planned. Fox News reported that the wiretaps themselves appear to have been intercepted by other entities, perhaps even a foreign government. The Feds and others notices that, for some criminals, whenever they began to intercept their phone calls, these suspects would suddenly change their methods of communication. Somehow they were being warned. The probably leak came from an Israeli-owned company that was servicing the computers involved almost all of the United States’ phone system.
The Fox News story starts 30 seconds in, and C.A.L.E.A.’s role is introduced at 1:12.
So to make sure we are vulnerable to them, the government must make us vulnerable to others, whether other governments or other types of criminals.
So what lies ahead?
Obamacare now requires insurance companies to set up a single database that contains all of our medical information. What could possibly go wrong!
And I’m sure, when the inevitable happens, and the database is hacked, HHS will be quick to accept full responsibility and pay damages to all the consumers whose privacy was violated just like a private company would be required to do.
Sure they will.