As tech giants face Congressional investigation, states must step up regulatory oversight too

TechCrunch | 3/24/2016 | Staff
stefania (Posted by) Level 3
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Tiffany Olson Kleemann is the chief executive officer of Distil Networks. She formerly served in executive roles at Symantec and FireEye and was deputy chief of staff for cybersecurity operations under President George W. Bush.

Congress has begun investigations into the power wielded by tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google – from their effect on the news media, to their impact on retail markets, to their handling of data. Unusual for these divided times, the concerns are bipartisan, with members of both parties suggesting that new legislation and regulation may be needed.

Number - Challenges - Consumers - Breaches - Privacy

A number of big challenges are hurting consumers, including “serious breaches of privacy” and “loss of control of data,” Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, told CNBC.

This discussion of what Cicilline has called a “monopoly moment” is healthy and overdue. However, while Congress examines whether we should trust the tech titans with so much of our data and other assets, it would be great to see more urgency on another question: Can we trust the government itself with our data?

Federal - State - Government - Databases - Treasure

Federal and state government databases hold a treasure trove of sensitive, personal information that is used to collect taxes, administer benefits, register vehicles, or run elections. Not to mention the 434.2 million phone records on Americans that the National Security Agency collected last year, according to a government report.

Hackers, naturally, know that government sites are a rich target, and some of the largest cybersecurity breaches of recent years have taken place in the public sector.

Incidents - June - US - Office - Personnel

In two separate incidents in June 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management discovered that attackers had stolen the Social Security numbers and other confidential information of 25.7 million current and former federal employees and contractors. The hackers’ haul even included 5.6 million fingerprints of job applicants who has undergone background investigations.

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