The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 March 2005

Personal Privacy Issues to the Forefront

Yet another instance of personal privacy being compromised, this time at government offices, as the Nevada DMV reveals major security weaknesses.

And again the thieves have a running head start of days or weeks on their victims because of delays in reporting the thefts to the public. That's all the time they need to wreck your life.

Obviously there are huge trust and competence issues when it comes to handling our information that applies to the public and private sectors.

Is the Republican Party aware of the importance of addressing huge public concerns over this issue? A great way to get wiped out in the midterm elections next year is to be perceived as tied to banks and special interests, in addition to being unconcerned about governmental mismanagement of personal data.

(Las Vegas Sun)

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) - Personal information from more than 8,900 people was stolen when thieves broke into a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles office, officials said Friday.

A computer taken during the break-in contained names, ages, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, photographs and signatures of southern Nevada residents who obtained driver's licenses between Nov. 25 and March 4 at the North Las Vegas office, state DMV chief Ginny Lewis said.

"The state is extremely sorry that this has happened," Lewis said. "Those motorists whose data was on that computer need to know their personal information has been compromised."

The DMV had previously maintained that the information on the computer stolen in Monday's break-in was encrypted, making it virtually useless to thieves.

But Lewis said Friday that Digimarc Corp., the Beaverton, Ore.,-based company that provides digital driver's licenses in Nevada, told her Thursday the information was not encrypted, and was readily accessible.

Miz Nakajima, Digimarc spokeswoman, said Friday she could not comment on specifics about state DMV customers or the Nevada theft. The publicly traded company provides a service Nakajima called "digital watermarking" to motor vehicle departments in 34 states and the District of Columbia.


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