ID Theft – Be Always Diligent – Lesson from My Accountant

I am always careful of what information I give out. When the DMV was asking me for my Social Security number to put on my license I protested. Why does the DMV need this info? After a letter writing campaign, the DMV switched to a new ID system. When my health care provider sent me an ID card with my SS# on it I protested.  I was happy to get their first “fake-o” ID card as they called it. If there isn’t a good reason to give my info to you I will not give it.

I just filled out my tax return for my accountant. He looked it over and asked why am I putting the full account number of my financial institutions on my tax form. Good question. The IRS computers can match my tax return and my account info. Why put the full number on the form to give an opportunity for a data entry clerk or someone else to steal my ID? Thanks Matt.

Better to ask why then to get your identity stolen.

If you are in the Northern Virginia area and need an accountant, I recommend Matt Miller (  Knows his taxes and tax planning.


Bravo to Google for Publicizing Their New Privacy Policy

Whether you like their new policy or not, Google deserves a huge credit for telling their customers about it at every touch. I started Gmail and there was a conspicuous notice to pay attention to their new privacy policy. Same thing when I did a search, used Google Voice, etc. Whether consumers read the summary notice, the full notice , or ignore it is something Google knows but I am glad they are doing it.


2011 Privacy Chutzpah Award? Using a webcam to spy on customers

The award goes to Aaron’s rental for allegedly renting PC’s and then using its webcam and keylogger to spy on customers. Couple finds out when employee shows up at their home with a webcam photo of them. They call the police. Law enforcement confirmed that the product permitted the company to routinely take webcam photos, screenshots, and log the keystrokes of its customers without their knowledge or consent. A class action lawsuit has now been filed.

Who at Aaron’s thought of this? What was the purpose? This just amazes me.

Startups and Chief Privacy Officers

The conventional wisdom is that startups don’t need to worry about data protection until they get bigger (how big do they need to be?).  In an article in the Washington Post, Raj Kapoor of the $2.8 billion Mayfield Fund said, these days privacy policies have become integral to his decisions about new tech investments. He’s seeing start-ups with just a handful of employees appoint a privacy officer to ensure new products and services are designed with data protection in mind.