“Federal Judge Allows Trump Commission’s Nationwide Voter Data Request to Go Forward” was a fairly recent Washington Post headline that left me speechless. President Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission, under the guise of investigating rampant voter fraud, sent letters to all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) to “turn over ‘publicly-available voter roll data’, including names, addresses, dates of birth, party registrations, partial Social Security numbers and voting, military, felony and overseas histories, among other data.” This means that the Commission was now able to legally collect personal information from 150 million Americans!
So what can we do about it?
In the good old days, we felt safe and confident that the government and private corporations that we trusted with our personal and private data could safeguard it successfully. However, when the Internet explosion began in 1989, everyone became exposed.
The Sony hack in November 2014, as well as recent hack cases such as on the healthcare sector (NHS across England, etc.), prominent department chains (Home Depot, Target, etc.), governmental institutions (The IRS, The Federal Reserve, DHS, etc.), or even some of our favorite online sites (eBay, Yahoo, Google, etc.), showed that many companies are vulnerable to security breaches and fail to protect our consumer information adequately. My own Social Security number was out in the open along with other personal and private information due to these security breaches.
Now, in 2017, we have lost control. There are bits and pieces of us everywhere on the Internet. Hacks are commonplace, and millions of identities and private information are stolen. It’s almost like getting breached is a rite of passage for many companies. Equifax’s recent breach has effected almost half the US population, close to 143 million people. The information that was accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and, in some cases, even driver’s licenses. Such incidents will continue to occur if information is stored in a format that can be accessible.
We know the Voter Fraud Commission is trying to get access to our information, and we need to act. Advocacy groups are filing lawsuits to block the Commission from gaining access to that information, but there is also another action we could take. We can use this window of opportunity to develop new tools to protect ourselves going forward. I have shifted my focus to the process of de-identification. In order to secure my identity and prevent others like the Commission from getting my voter info, I need to first determine what information identifies me and which of that information I want to make publicly available. Then, I need to map out a course of action to erase me from the Internet by controlling which information is publicly available and taking the information I want to keep private off the Internet (this will de-identify me). To become the steward of my own data, I need to control what you know about me!
To minimize my exposure on the Internet, I need to go through these 5 steps:
Step 1 – Identify unique characteristics about myself that only I know. This information can function almost like a password because only I would know all of these unique characteristics, except it’s harder to steal this type of information.
Step 2 – Give out personal information on an as needed basis. For example, I always find it odd that your primary care physician wants to know about your employment status and your employer name. Under HIPAA, everything provided is confidential to third parties so why does your doctor need this info? If the doctor is hacked, the hackers will have this info.
Step 3 – Make it difficult for others to infer sensitive information about me.
Step 4 – Be proactive in securing my identity and not just plan on fixing breaches after they occur.
Step 5 – Set up a system whereby everything is encrypted while keeping a log of all transactions/changes
Secure Identity Ledger CorporationSM provides the One Digital IDSM for users to self-attest and safeguard their personal information to build trust.
Internet users are looking for a digital company that can take a proactive/hands on approach to step up and offer protection for their digital presence.