Identity Theft but He That Term Paper

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In one case in 2000, two-20-year-olds hacked into the Lowe's credit card mainframe from a white Pontiac Grand Prix parked outside a store, synching a single laptop to the wireless system that was meant for employees to use to locate products.

The hackers, obviously to blame for the crime, played on the flaws of a computer system that should not have allowed for a security breach. While the same hackers were responsible for the fall of a non-profit online service provider named Arbornet only months before, they were unaware of the increasing watchful eye of the Lowe's corporation on their actions. While Lowe's was not yet able to smooth the seams of its system and the holes allowing access, they were able to keep watch, something that all corporations need to take responsibility and do. From the corporate data center in North Carolina, Lowe's employees were able to trace the breaches in the system and, instead of attempting to shut it down themselves, called for help - from the Charlotte FBI. Working together, they were able to make use of the careful observance of the systems to capture and indict the two young hackers.

The same crimes that play out on a corporate level befall single individuals on a regular basis, most of whom do not have the computer savvy to watch and prevent security breaches of information on their computers or wearily know what information to give whom online. This sense of mistrust is particularly true lately, when the old adage of not giving information to strangers was disregarded for only giving information to seemingly-legitimate companies online, like the Gap or one's own bank; yet, this new adage seems to give way in light of the recent weeks, when those most trusted with personal information have let it go. While poor company choices, insecure technology, poor interfaces, and extremely knowledgeable hackers are to blame for much fraud, the role of the consume as an ignorant agent has to also be addressed and faulted.

It is this issue - the ignorant consumer - that the government is theoretically required to protect. Because the basis of the American government is to protect the citizens from harm that might befall them in ways amenable to public interest, the government must take responsibility to help consumers first understand their levels of ignorance, a social charge not easily mastered by the pride Americans characteristically exhibit, but also make knowledge readily available, at their disposal, and easily understood. At the same time, the role of mandatory Internet security measures to be implemented service providers and built-in fees meant to cover (nearly insure) computers to cover incidence of theft are suggested as public solutions.

As solutions abound on the scene, their viability comes strictly into question. Built in fees attached to a computer upon purchase in order to insure it from theft is encouraged by many, but fails to hold up under the microscope - from what could a built-in fee protect? How could it be applied? If a fraud is committed, the consumer will still have to take the time, money, and legal action to remedy the personal effects, although the idea offers the bonus of encouraging consumer trust. Regardless of its viability, the concept of insurance is one that insights feelings of security in the American public and is worth entertaining. Stiffer fines are also widely discussed, frequently by legislators who wish to implement a fearsome system of penalties, including jail time, for those who commit the fraud. California, in 2003, became the first state to require companies to publicly announce security breaches, an alternate form of prevention that, while dispersing knowledge to the public, also incites more market fear about online fiscal transactions.

Mandatory ISP coverage is among the most feasible nascent solutions to the problem of identity fraud. Already embraced by start-ups like NetZero who appeal to the renegades from AOL and cable- and phone company- based services, desiring lower fees and higher protection, the coverage requires mandatory filtering of information on behalf of the ISP, tracking how, when, and where information goes when leaving the personal computer to which it provides internet access and where it goes. The system, in early and proposed stages, marries well with journalists, who acknowledge the public relations strength of the concept, as well as the ultimate security that it may provide.

The use of privacy software by the ISPs would establish an early wall of protection and an immediate source of blame; for example, in the case of the Lowe's security breach, while hackers were at fault for committing the actions, the wireless networking system that made the whole so gaping a twenty-year-old in a Grand Prix could step through it suggests a critical lack of responsibility on behalf of the service provider as reflected in their software. The May 10 Hearings on Identity Theft and Data Broker Services, as documented by the Sensenbrenner Advocates Watchdog for Judiciary lobby group would suggest that the Federal Government agrees. Testimonies included Kurt Sanford, President and C.E.O at LexisNexis, Douclas Curling, President and CEO at ChoicePoint, Jennifer Barret, the Chief Privacy Officer at Axcom, and Mark Rotenberg, President and executive Director at Electronic Privacy Information Center, among others. The Congressional Hearings, just beginning, address the newly-dubbed Cybercrime, identity theft, and the role of service providers in its prevention.

The ISP provision option provides not only a valuable source of security, new sense of safety, and lowered risks of identity theft, but is also among the most easily implemented of the available options. ISPs, whose long history in hiring the computer generation to create new and better software, have in many cases already discovered the holes in their systems, and if not, need to take responsibility for doing so. Anecdotally, it would seem that, after preparing and safeguarding against the possible Y2K collapse, preventing security breaches today would be less difficult. The impact of the implementation, too, would be invaluable; be securing even the most ignorant user from the theft that could rail both he and the major corporation holding his security, the internet can actually be made safe for the free flow of money. The ISPs would develop a novel concept in Internet service provision - accountability.

The recent rise in identity theft has spawned a new epoch of awareness in protecting the private information of Americans that they have been able to, with purposeful knowledge, hold safe for generations. As computer technology increases at vast rates, the ignorance of the immediate user, corporation, and protective security services have not raised their bars of knowledge compatibly, as have hackers, whose knowledge of the holes in the system far outlasts that of the average consumer. Because the breaches happen repeatedly at all levels of fiscal management, it is critical to address the problem at its source, and provide security to the millions of Americans whose trust has been dampened and private and financial livelihoods repeatedly put at risk.

Federal Trade Commission. "Overview of the Identity Theft Program." Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, September 2003.

Roth and Boorstin, Daniel and Julia. "The Great Data Heist." Fortune. New York: May 6, 2005. Vol. 151, Iss. 10, p. 66.

Sahadi, Jeanne. "From Credit Bureaus to Grocers to Unscrupulous Brokers, There's a Healthy Trade in your Good Name." CNN: Money Special Report. May 9, 2005: 3:07pm EDT.

Thibodeau, Patrick. "FTC Says Incidence of ID Theft Jumped in 2002." Computer World. January 22, 2003.

U.S. Department of Justice. "What is Identity Theft?" Identity Theft and Identity Fraud. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 2000.

Roth and Boorstin, Daniel and Julia. "The Great Data Heist." Fortune. New York: May 6, 2005. Vol. 151, Iss. 10, p. 66.

IdendityTheft.org>

U.S. Department of Justice. "What is Identity Theft?" Identity Theft and Identity Fraud. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 2000.

Sahadi, Jeanne. "From Credit Bureaus to Grocers to Unscrupulous Brokers, There's a Healthy Trade in your Good Name." CNN: Money Special Report. May 9, 2005: 3:07pm EDT.

Incidence and Impact of Identity Theft. http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/pa/IdentityTheft/incidence.htm

Sahadi, "Personal Data."

Thibodeau, Patrick. "FTC Says Incidence of ID Theft Jumped in 2002." Computer World. January 22, 2003.

Federal Trade Commission. "Overview of the Identity Theft Program." Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, September 2003.

Facts and Statistics." Identity Theft Resource Center. http://www.idtheftcenter.org/facts.shtml

Incidence and Impact of Identity Theft."

Facts and Statistics."

FTC, "Overview of the Identity Theft Program."

Roth and Boorstin, "The Great Data Heist."

FTC, "Overview of the Identity Theft Program."

Sahadi, "Personal Data."

Warne, Dan. "Mandatory Filtering by ISPS. http://archive.humbug.org.au/aussie-isp/2003-03/msg00253.html

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