Why should anyone care about privacy?

Catherine & Ms. Van Fleet, one of her many Equifax clients, speak with KING5 anchor Amanda Grace.

Why care about data privacy and security? After all, aren’t we each just a bundle of facts, only meaningful to ourselves and to those who know us? Not quite. Your personally identifying information is valuable to many companies and people — including individuals with bad intentions.

Before I was a lawyer, I used to work in the high tech world. One of my most exciting jobs was at an online ad agency.  There, I worked with Fortune 500 companies and developed advertising tools/products that helped them get the most out of their online agency budget. The information that we collected on each consumer was enormously valuable. However, I did not focus on the security of that personal information. I figured that we had a bunch of people downstairs in the IT department, who knew how to keep all of that information secure enough.

That, unfortunately, is still the mindset of many high level managers. But, the world has changed. The Dark Web is crawling with highly sophisticated hackers, who share their methods on how to get as much personal information on everyone as possible. Why? That’s right, because that information has a lot of value even on the black market.

The information for each potential consumer has a going market rate based on the industry. For example, the financial services sector puts a higher dollar value on your personal information compared to someone who sells magazines. Personally identifying information in the health care industry has an even greater value. But the sad fact is that too many companies are still woefully ignorant about how valuable information is stored. The more mammoth the company, the less efficient the communication between departments. And this is how cracks in the system are easily exploited.

Please check out the resources that I’ve provided and visit my Blog often. As you’ll see, I’m incredibly passionate about the issue of privacy and data security. But the way to make a difference is through collective action. The value of class action lawsuits is in the power to shape and protect consumers in our country. In the United States, large corporations have more power than the individual consumer. This is even more so with the United States Supreme Court decision requiring consumers in specific contexts to find “justice” via mandatory arbitration instead of having their day in court. Thankfully, many principled consumers care enough to step forward and contact us to fight on their behalf. If you are someone who has suffered as the result of a data security issue, let me know. I, along with a team of skilled class action attorneys, are ready to fight for your rights.