Saturday, November 4, 2006

Love/Hate relationship with computers...

Well, it's happened again... computers lost that have personal information on them. This time it's from Starbucks (someone snoozin' cause they didn't get enough caffeinne? someone taking one too many coffee breaks? this one lends itself to a Jay Leno or David Letterman type joke).

Have you ever thought about our dependence on computers? I love my computer. I love getting quick answers, being able to find out about things that used to require a trip to the library or bookstore, paying bills on-line, blogs and sharing information. For every good thing in life it seems there must be a negative balance (very Yin and Yang). With computers the spam, garbage, porn, mis-information and privacy issues fall into that black side.

The Internet is too big for the rules of one country to have any kind of affect. Rules are virtually impossible to enforce on computers under any circumstances. The law enforcers are often the law breakers.

I know that from a corporate standpoint, there must be better guardianship of our information. Companies learned in the old days to lock file cabinets and shred sensitive info. Our modern day companies are going to need to find modern day locks for sensitive information stored on hard drives and such. If they want our information, they need to protect our information.

Luckily I've never worked for Starbucks and thus far (should I knock on plastic instead of wood now?) I've not had my information with any of the other companies or organizations that have misplaced computers or been subjected to info-gathering hacking.

Starbucks Announces Identification of Missing Corporate Laptops

11-3-06 SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starbucks Corporation (Nasdaq: SBUX) announced today that four retired (no longer in regular use) laptops have been identified as missing from the Starbucks Corporate Support Center in Seattle. Two of the laptops contained the private information, including names and social security numbers, of nearly 60,000 United States partners (employees) and less than 80 Canadian partners and contractors at all levels employed across the organization prior to Dec. 31, 2003.

At this time, there is no indication that the private information in question has been misused or that the devices are in the hands of someone intending to misuse the information. These laptops may still be in the possession of Starbucks, however we cannot currently locate them. In accordance with Starbucks standards for information security, the laptops were password protected.

“We take our commitment to safeguarding the personal information and security of our partners very seriously, and we regret the inconvenience that this incident may cause,” said Valerie O’Neil, director of corporate communications. “We are currently reinforcing our corporate policies and updating procedures related to the protection of personal data in an effort to ensure that this type of incident does not occur in the future.”

Efforts are currently underway to notify partners whose information was believed to be on the missing laptops, and credit-protection services are being offered by the company at no cost to those potentially affected persons.

Partners with questions or concerns related to the incident or to the credit-protection services being offered are encouraged to contact the Starbucks Information Security Helpline at 1-800-453-1048 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. PST or to visit http://www.starbuckspartnerinformation.com/.

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