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Trust 12 December 2017

Let’s Mobilize for Better Data Stewardship

Mark Buell
By Mark BuellRegional Bureau Director, North America

If we want organizations like Equifax to be good data stewards, we, the users and consumers, must mobilize.

In October, the Internet Society explored why the dominant approach to data handling, based around the concepts of risk and compliance, does not work. To recap: “…data handlers try to adhere to regulatory requirements and minimize the risk to themselves – not necessarily to the individuals whose data they handle. For some data handlers, the risk that poor security creates may not extend to them.”

Euphemistically put, Equifax has not been an example of forthcomingness, transparency, and accountability. Users can change this paradigm. Users can shift the cost of a data breach onto the data handler by holding the accountable for their action or lack of action.

The key is to organize. For example, Consumer Reports is organizing a campaign calling on Equifax to take the next steps to address the fallout from the data breach. Their first step was to deliver a petition signed by over 180,000 individuals to Equifax’s headquarters.

The Internet Society just pledged $10k to this cause, to help Consumer Reports make sure Equifax does everything in its power to make things right for consumers in danger of identity theft.

Other actions you can take:

  1. Sign the Consumer Reports Petition to Equifax.
  1. Prepare for a breach incident with the Online Trust Alliance’s 2017 Cyber Incident & Breach Response Guide.
  1. Read the Global Internet Report 2016 to take a close look at the economics of data breaches and consider five recommendations for a path forward.
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