Fixated on Data Breach Notification?

by on October 11, 2010 · 0 comments

Well, then, this post (via Adam Shostack) is for you!

“Dissent” goes through the numbers revealed in the first year of data breach reporting under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations. The post gives extremely light treatment to the possibility—indeed, the likelihood—of noncompliance with the regulations due to unawareness of breaches or judgments that reporting is more dangerous than not reporting.

But one also must wonder . . . Why does this matter?

Data breach notification is the grown-up version of the schoolyard taunt: “Your epidermis is showing!” The questions are: What part of the epidermis? And what social or economic consequences does it have?

Of course, these statistics may be interesting and relevant to security professionals, but harm is where the rubber hits the road for consumer protection. (See this interesting colloquy recently on Concurring Opinions.) Some data breaches have some relationship to consumer harm, but gross breach statistics don’t seem to be a window onto harm prevention.

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