Wikipedia reports that a class action lawsuit against naming Equifax as defendant has already been filed in Oregon.
First, an explanation of what happened and how it may affect you. Then a explanation of how we might be able to see to it that those responsible are prosecuted under criminal statutes.
US lawmakers attacked credit report giant Equifax after the company revealed that 143 million US customers may have had their information stolen.
Two Congressional committee chairmen said they would hold hearings into the data breach, one of the biggest ever reported in the US.
Several state prosecutors also said they would investigate.
Shares in Equifax dropped by almost 14% on Wall Street as investors weighed up how the incident would affect the firm.
Rep Jeb Hensarling, who leads the House Financial Services Committee, said: “Every breach leaves consumers exposed and vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and a host of other crimes, and they deserve answers.”
That committee and the commerce committee will hold hearings.
Also on Friday, attorneys general in New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania said they were opening state investigations into the data breach.
Credit card details
The breach puts people at risk of identity theft and other forms of fraud.
Equifax said it found signs of unauthorised access to data including names, addresses and Social Security numbers at the end of July.
Customers in the UK and Canada had also been affected. The hackers also accessed credit card information from more than 200,000 people.
The company set up a website for people to learn if they were among those whose information had been accessed and sign up for free credit and identity theft monitoring.
The website required people to waive the right to sue, drawing outrage. The company later clarified that the clause only applied to people who signed up for the credit monitoring services, and not to actions arising over damage suffered due to the data breach.
Equifax handles data on more than 820 million consumers and 91 million businesses worldwide, according to its website. It performs services such as credit checks, employment verification and identity theft monitoring.
The best writing I’ve seen on this outrageous betrayal of American consumers comes from Karl Denninger, who understands that data can be made secure when people do their job. I’m excerpting from his piece on how to deal with the arrogant, cheap CEOs of companies that put our financial futures at risk.
It’s time to start locking people up and destroying businesses with federal criminal indictments.
The Internet has made many things very easy — and fast. But it has also made many things quite-insecure, especially when corners are cut.
The solution is to force Equifax to eat the cost of ANY fraud that ensues and all costs of its cleanup including liquidated damages for your time and effort on a permanent basis since they, and not you, decided to use an identifier never intended for that purpose and in addition they, and not you, were grossly negligent in failing to secure said data. In addition forcing all of these firms to allow no-cost lock and unlock options for consumers where locking your file at one bureau does so at all of them and can be done at zero cost at any time for any reason on a permanent basis would actually mitigate said risk. Finally, deeming any credit opened while you have locked your file as conclusively fraudulent and uncollectable with liquidated damages payable to you if someone does it anyway would shift the burden from you for said incidents to them.
And finally we can start by indicting right now the executives at Equifax who sold stock after the breach occurred and before it was reported along with indicting the company itself under federal Racketeering statutes — they claim they didn’t know but I call bull**** on that and demand an immediate felony criminal investigation of both the executives and company including but not limited to the immediate seizure of every single electronic device owed by said executives and the company that might hold evidence documenting that they’re lying.
But instead of doing the right thing what we get is more mealy-mouthed bull****, and you, America, sit for it.