The Associated Press has reported that individuals who have received Agriculture Department grants since 1996 have had their social security numbers posted on a government web site. These social security numbers were taken down last week, but in this world of technology, once that information is out there, it is out there. You can’t get it back, and others can easily access it. Just try going to www.archive.org. This site will take you to almost any site which was ever posted on the web.
With the escalation of identity theft, it is imperative that companies and organizations safeguard their customers’, employee’s, and members’ personal information. Identity theft is a known problem, and the failure to accept that fact and secure this type of information could, and should, lead to liability based upon the entity’s negligent and wanton conduct. In addition, individuals have to take personal responsibility for this information as well.
In light of this recent incident, it is speculated that a federal law will be enacted requiring certain notification to individuals when such information is disclosed or stolen electronically. 35 states already have such a law. Alabama has enacted the “Consumer Identity Protection Act”, but it does not require such notification.