Equifax ‘Shared’ Your Data, But Congress is on the Case


Having a virtually all-borrowed money supply, soaked in interest charges, presents a host of problems, including a chronic shortage of purchasing power and the need for constant new loans to retire old ones, in a never-ending cycle. In such a debt-based system, the future is mortgaged to buy things in the present—and personal data exposure is risked daily.

Compounding the problem, the Social Security number, long ago, was improperly converted into a de-facto national ID.

So, whenever we apply for bank loans, make certain purchases etc., we’re required to disclose our Social Security number. This forces us to scatter our “Social” all over the place, including cyberspace.

However, we act surprised when our personal information is hacked.

Consider the recent, massive Equifax data-breach. Equifax is itself entrusted with monitoring credit scores and reporting security breached yet even it was hacked.

But don’t you worry. There’s a proposed “solution”—from Congress.

The House Financial Services Committee, in proceedings that have been overshadowed by the Vegas shooting and other matters, held a four-hour Oct. 5 hearing about Equifax. Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is overseeing a review of existing laws and federal regulators to see what happened and what can be done. This could take a while.

“On Sept. 7,” Hensarling said during the hearing, “Equifax announced a ‘cybersecurity incident’ that potentially affects 145 million US consumers, nearly half of all Americans.”

He continued, “That’s how massive this breach was. The criminals got basically everything they need to steal your identity, open credit card accounts in your name and cause you untold frustration and financial calamity.”

Indeed, this may be “the most harmful failure to protect private consumer information the world has ever seen,” he said, driving home the severity of this matter.

And, of course, Equifax failed to disclose the breach to consumers and its shareholders. Beyond belief, senior executives sold their Equifax shares after the company knew of the breach but before the company disclosed the breach.

Hensarling, hoping the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission will get to the bottom of this, says Congress must ensure that federal law enforcement and regulators do their jobs “so victims are made whole.”

However, he admits the federal government has a poor batting average in terms of protecting personal information; thus, he says Americans should be skeptical of exploitative attempts to “impose a Washington-forced technology solution.”

Yet he’s the one also calling for a “consistent national standard for both data security and breach notification” to supposedly better protect consumers and hold companies accountable.

To add even more irony, the Financial Services Committee already passed pertinent legislation about two years ago — the bipartisan Data Security Act. Is history repeating itself? That’s the question a skeptical and vulnerable public might want to ask as Congress revisits the Data Security Act and other relevant legislation.

Lest tens of millions of Americans get financially fleeced in ways from which they may never recover, Congress had better get it right. As long as we have a debt-based money system — which ultimately should be the real focal point—such breaches cannot help but reoccur. For now, then, it’s a matter of reducing their frequency and severity to the furthest possible extent. And it might help to reduce the requirement for providing Social Security numbers for so many data files and transactions in daily life.

Mark Anderson is a veteran journalist who divides his time between Texas and Michigan. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.

From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2017


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