Archive for the ‘identity theft’ Category

Coaltion led by Donald Kendall launches effort to keep kids identities safe
c/o Greenwich Citizen

Donald Kendall of Greenwich, the co-founder, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo is on a crusade to protect kids’ identities. He believes that children are increasingly the victims of identity theft, and that parents need to understand the risk. To that end he has launched a program called KIDS – keeping identities safe for kids.

…the Coalition now has a program to recognize state achievements in improving driver’s license security. We have provided seven states awards over the past two years. Our newest program KIDS is the one of which I’m most proud, because it produces measurable results in a short time frame.

More information about the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License can be found at

c/o NYT 

Researchers at VeriSign’s iDefense division tracking the digital underworld say bogus and stolen accounts on the Facebook are now on sale in high volume on the black market.

           :::MORE HERE:::

BTC- A letter to parent company for the idCheck product to follow.

Dear IDWatchdog,

My name is Sheila Dean and I’m an anti-National identity advocate, blogger and media activist. I have an identity challenge to present to you. I looked at your business and have some ideas about the direction of identity security. Data surveillance is an area of concern where corporations are involved.
I‘m a staunch critic of data aggregates and believe most identity protection services as way to “own” the information given to their corporate machinery so they can go out of business and then sell all that information to someone else. Issue of identity “ownership” is certainly murky business. What’s even less clear is if businesses like IDwatchdog will collude with Homeland Security and any other intelligence agency that makes intel demands on average citizens with or without a warrant based on National Security.

I’m interested in interviewing your corporate counsel to ask them exactly what you tell your customers about identity ownership. Who actually owns the rights to a Social Security number? Who owns your name? Is it you? Is it the State? Based on what we know about current identity conventions this area is expanding to body imaging and biometrics as potential IP when you travel and as you bank and go about your business.

You may be eventually interested in expanding your business R&D to include patenting the modern identity as a legal experiment. I recently threw down the volunteer gauntlet to prove the ability of the individual to patent their identity to therefore collect on theft damages, royalties and unlicensed use and distribution of restricted identity articles and images sold for profit to public-private entities.

If you’re up to the challenge – I’d like to take this one step further with your advocacy team after considering your policy for working with national security agencies. We would have to clear that hurdle first. It would defeat the purpose of the inquiry if you’re working with local or national intelligence data aggregates to get citizens to pay you to volunteer up their identity articles so you’ll turn around and give the intimate details to DHS.

You’ve already really got a strike against you with your Law Enforcement advisor, Robert Fisak on board as a Homeland Security consultant.
Otherwise please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss what’s possible.
Sheila Dean

c/o Privacy Regulation

A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a settlement between Countrywide Financial and millions of customers whose detailed financial information was exposed in a security breach.

Under the terms of the settlement, Countrywide, now owned by Bank of America, would give free credit monitoring to up to 17 million people whose information was exposed during the security breach.

That group includes anyone who obtained a mortgage and anyone who used Countrywide to service a mortgage before July 1, 2008.

The settlement entitles a person to receive up to $50,000 in reimbursements from Countrywide per instance of identity theft, provided they actually lost something of value, were not reimbursed and that it was likely the theft stemmed from the Countrywide breach.

via Seattle Times Newspaper.

As White House pushes expansion, critics cite errors, drop-off in care

c/o Washington Post

By Alexi Mostrous

In a health-care debate characterized by partisan bickering, most lawmakers agree on one thing: American medicine needs to go digital.

When President Obama designated $19.5 billion to expand the use of electronic medical records, former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said it was one of only “two good things” in February’s stimulus package.

But such bipartisan enthusiasm has obscured questions about the effectiveness of health information technology products, critics say. Interviews with more than two dozen doctors, academics, patients and computer programmers suggest that computer systems can increase errors, add hours to doctors’ workloads and compromise patient care.

“Health IT can be beneficial, but many current systems are clunky, counterintuitive and in some cases dangerous,” said Ross Koppel, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who published a key study on electronic medical records in 2005.

Under the stimulus program, hospitals and physicians can claim millions of dollars for IT purchases, and will be penalized if they do not go digital by 2015. Obama has said the changes will save billions and will minimize medication errors.

But health IT’s effectiveness is unclear. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found in March that electronic records prevented only two infections a year. A 2005 report in the journal Pediatrics found that deaths at the children’s hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center more than doubled in the five months after a computerized order-entry system went online. UPMC said the study had not found that technology caused the rise in mortality and maintained that medication errors were down 60 percent since computers were introduced in 2002.

Others studies have concluded that health IT saves time and reduces errors. It has been used successfully in organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and Kaiser Permanente.

Documenting the flaws

However, the Senate Finance Committee has amassed a thick file of testimony alleging serious computer flaws from doctors, patients and engineers unhappy with current systems.

On Oct. 16, the panel wrote to 10 major sellers of electronic record systems, demanding to know, for example, what steps they had taken to safeguard patients. “Every accountability measure ought to be used to track the stimulus money invested in health information technology,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the panel’s ranking Republican.

Anonymous reports sent to the Joint Commission, the body charged with certifying 17,000 health-care organizations; Grassley’s staff; and the Food and Drug Administration disclose problems, including:

— Faulty software that miscalculated intracranial pressures and mixed up kilograms and pounds.

— A computer system that systematically gave adult doses of medications to children.

— An IT program designed to warn physicians about wrong dosages that was disconnected when the vendor updated the system, leading to incorrect dosing.

— A software bug that misdiagnosed five people with herpes.

David Blumenthal, the head of health technology at the Department of Health and Human Services, acknowledged that the systems had flaws. “But the critical question is whether, on balance, care is better than before,” he said. “I think the answer is yes.”

Over the next two months, Blumenthal will finalize the definition of “meaningful use,” the standard that hospitals and physicians will have to reach before qualifying for health IT stimulus funds. He would not say whether applicants would have to submit adverse-event reports, a safety net that many doctors and academics have called for but that vendors have resisted.

“If you look at other high-risk industries, like drug regulation or aviation, there’s a requirement to report problems,” said David C. Classen, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah who recently completed a study on health IT installations.

Today, barely 8 percent of hospitals have even a basic electronic medical system. Only 17 percent of physicians use electronic records, and many of those are uninstalling them, including 20 percent of physician groups in Arizona, according to a June survey by HealthLeaders-InterStudy.

Outside the United States, countries further along the digital curve have experienced major problems with American-made health IT systems.

In Britain, a $20 billion program to digitalize medicine across the National Health Service is five years behind schedule and heavily over budget. A British parliamentary committee in January criticized the vendor, Cerner, as “not providing value for money.”

Sarah Bond, a Cerner spokeswoman, said patient safety had improved and errors had dropped at U.S. hospitals that used Cerner products.

Cerner’s stock price has risen 122 percent since February. Shares in Allscripts, another major health IT player whose chief executive, Glen E. Tullman, served on Obama’s campaign finance committee, rose by 126 percent over the same period.

But rising share prices have not always translated into better care.

“It’s been a complete nightmare,” said Steve Chabala, an emergency room physician at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Mich., which switched to electronic records three years ago. “I can’t see my patients because I’m at a screen entering data.”

Last year, his department found that physicians spent nearly five of every 10 hours on a computer, he said. “I sit down and log on to a computer 60 times every shift. Physician productivity and satisfaction have fallen off a cliff.”

Other doctors spoke of cluttered screens, unresponsive vendors and illogical displays. “It’s a huge safety issue,” said Christine Sinsky, an internist in Dubuque, Iowa, whose practice implemented electronic records six years ago. “I can’t tell from the medical display whether a patient is receiving 4mg or 8mg of a certain drug. It took us two years to get a back-button on our [Electronic Health Record] browser.”

She emphasized that electronic records have improved her practice. “We wouldn’t want to go back,” she said. “But EHRs are still in need of significant improvement.”

More than one in five hospital medication errors reported last year — 27,969 out of 133,662 — were caused at least partly by computers, according to data submitted by 379 hospitals to Quantros Inc., a health-care information company. Paper-based errors caused 10,954 errors, the data showed.

Tracking the mishaps

Legal experts say it is impossible to know how often health IT mishaps occur. Electronic medical records are not classified as medical devices, so hospitals are not required to report problems. Many health IT contracts do not allow hospitals to discuss computer flaws, say Koppel and Sharona Hoffman, a professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“Doctors who report problems can lose their jobs,” Hoffman said. “Hospitals don’t have any incentive to do so and may be in breach of contract if they do.”

For one senior internist at a major hospital, who requested anonymity because he said he would lose his job if he went public, a 2006 installation provoked mayhem. “The system crashed soon after it went online,” he said. “I walked in to find no records on any patients. It was like being on the moon without oxygen.”

While orange-shirted vendor employees “ran around with no idea how to work their own equipment,” the internist said, doctors struggled to keep chronically ill patients alive. “I didn’t go through all my training to have my ability to take care of patients destroyed by devices that are an impediment to medical care.”

In February, the opponents of REAL ID were given a bit of hope when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that she wanted to repeal the REAL ID Act, the federal government’s failed plan to impose a national identification card through state driver’s licenses. But what has taken place since is no return to sanity, as political machinations have produced a cosmetic makeover called “PASS ID” that has revived the push for a national identification card.

The PASS ID Act (S. 1261) seeks to make many of the same ineffectual, dangerous changes the REAL ID Act attempted to impose. Fundamentally, PASS ID operates on the same flawed premise of REAL ID — that requiring various “identity documents” (and storing that information in databases for later access) will magically make state drivers’ licenses more legitimate, which will in turn improve national security.

Proponents seem to be blind to the systemic impotence of such an identification card scheme. Individuals originally motivated to obtain and use fake IDs will instead use fake identity documents to procure “real” drivers’ licenses. PASS ID creates new risks — it calls for the scanning and storage of copies of applicants’ identity documents (birth certificates, visas, etc.). These documents will be stored in databases that will become leaky honeypots of sensitive personal data, prime targets for malicious identity thieves or otherwise accessible by individuals authorized to obtain documents from the database. Despite some alterations to the scheme, PASS ID is still bad for privacy in many of the same ways the REAL ID was. And proponents of the national ID effort seem blissfully unaware of the creepy implications of a “papers please” mentality that may grow from the issuance of mandatory federal identification cards. Despite token provisions that claim to give states the freedom to issue non-federal identification cards, the card will be mandatory for most — the PASS ID Act seeks to require everyone to show the federally recognized ID for “any official purpose,” including boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

At the moment, health care reform is commanding tremendous attention and effort on the hill, so the PASS ID Act seems to be on the backburner for now. But after the August recess, anything can happen. So stay tuned for more about PASS ID and critical opportunities to flag your opposition to this flawed national ID scheme.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. authorities announced what they believed to be the largest hacking and identity theft case ever prosecuted on Monday in a scheme in which more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen.

Three men were indicted on charges of being responsible for five corporate data breaches in a scheme in which the card numbers were stolen from Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven Inc and Hannaford Brothers Co, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

The suspects also hacked two unidentified corporate victims, the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey said in the statement. :::MORE HERE:::

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