Feeds

California cuts off aid to ID thieves

Other states continue

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The California secretary of state's office has shut down portions of its website after it was discovered it had been selling hundreds of thousands of public documents containing social security numbers and signatures, a practice that lasted for years. Several other states have also made available materials that reveal personal information, although it's not clear which, if any, have curbed the policy.

The California secretary's move came after a state assemblyman called attention to the practice of making Uniform Commercial Code documents, such as those memorializing loans, available online. A spokesman in Assemblyman Dave Jones's office said of some two million UCC documents online, about one-third, or about 600,000, contained an individual's name, address, social security number and often signature.

The discovery reveals the pitfalls of fostering open government in the age of online communication. Once upon a time, access to public documents required going to a musty clerk's office and poring over paper files. The availability of thousands of records on a single website makes it almost trivial for people to mine the data for nefarious purposes.

California is by no means the only state that has compromised the privacy of individuals. According to a March 23 update on the Virginia Watchdog site, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas and Indiana also make social security numbers available, although we were unable to confirm this claim one way or the other.

The site hosts a dozen records with personal information of public figures, including former US Secretary of State Colin Powell's deed of trust. "Why should any identity thief have to hack, dumpster dive, or phish when Circuit Court Clerks/Recorders/Secretaries of State are putting records online that contain personal information?" BJ Ostergren, the site's principal, argues. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.