Though the question itself is an absurd one, if companies should protect your data, it is a valid one. The latest Comcast data breach shows that even when you pay for protection you don’t necessarily get it.
The story of Comcast data breach is not a particularly new one. Comcast which is the largest broadcasting and Cable Company in the world by revenue, has been struggling with it for the last 4 years as users of Comcast's phone service who had paid for their personal information to be unlisted noticed that the opposite has been happening.
With time, complaints started appearing from these individuals who found their names, addresses, and telephone numbers in phone directories both online and off. Later, it was revealed that this breach of confidential information affected more than 74,000 individuals and households in California — over half of Comcast's users in California with unlisted numbers. While the breach hit California the hardest, it also occurred with Comcast customers in other states. These numbers were treated just like ordinary listed phone numbers, licensed by Comcast to "publishers," directory assistance providers, and apparently passed on to other databases and published for everyone to see.
For many this would not be such a terrible thing, but for others, like some testimonies heard in the ongoing investigation, it is a life threatening situation.
“The longer my information is out there, the worse the issue gets. Yet still no action. I have paid for unpublishing my information for years as I testified in a murder trial. Now, my wife, children, and I are all in danger; and I have nowhere to turn”.
Another unhappy customer said:
“They have put my life in danger & this is not the littlest bit of exaggerating.... I'm tired of getting the runaround & have now contacted corporate office, being paraplegic already how am I supposed to protect myself from a man that has threatened to kill me”.
This is but one example of how a mistake in an industry built upon the acquisition and selling of personal information can hurt people. And there are countless of other examples out there. Corporations who promise their users privacy and anonymity are supplying nothing more than a hollow promise. They have learned in the last decade that private data is a goldmine - and just like too big to fail banks, they will also eventually get a slap on the wrist and continue to do business as usual.
No Data No Cry
These reports reveal the actual danger that can come from a breach. And such breaches will only happen more often as more data is collected, shared, and sold. It also demonstrates how unreliable big companies are in protecting our data, even when we pay. It shows more than everything that if you want to get something done, in this case protect your privacy, then you have to do it yourself.
Now top on this story which is really just one example out of countless others, the wild internet, where private data is king. If you want to protect your privacy online, don’t give the job to your service provider - protect yourself. We have learned that the more users are aware of this, the more they will start using tools like ZenMate. We urge users not to trust big companies promises, just start using one of many tools out there that will do the job for you. And if you’re asking yourself why should I trust you guys, after all another company, then we would like to remind our veteran and new users alike, that we simply don’t keep any data since we are not allowed to. And when there are no data logs around, there is nothing to sell but pure good product and service.
Tell us about your experiences with data protection in the comments!