Do Experian’s board, investors, and public know the full extent of Experian’s security concerns?

Brian Krebs has a piece on security at Experian that I hope the FTC and Congress critters read.

One of the points I had made in my complaint to the FTC is that Experian’s multiple data security breaches were not disclosed in either its annual reports or reports to investors. Brian’s piece makes me wonder how much people at the top really knew/know about the extent of security problems or issues there and how much their rush to acquire new businesses may have been or be at the cost of security and due diligence.

Independent of the above, and after speaking with some reporters yesterday who were asking about my FTC complaint, I reflected, once again, about how little the general public knows about the fact that Experian has had so many breaches (by my standard). And I started pondering the following:

Suppose we – as consumers – could insist that Experian delete our records from their credit reporting database if we had been informed they had a breach involving our data.  “Equifax ,TransUnion, and Innovis can still have my data, but you, Experian, cannot, because you didn’t protect it adequately.”  What would happen then? Businesses that need to run our credit history could still obtain it, but not from Experian, right?

Would it be a good idea – and fair to consumers – to change the law so that consumers could demand our records be deleted from a credit reporting database if the entity had failed to protect our data adequately?  The T-Mobile breach didn’t even make a temporary blip in Experian’s business. Their site reports that they hold data on 890 MILLION individuals and 103 businesses. There has been no breach so costly as to really act as a deterrent or sufficient penalty. But what if they risked not being able to collect or store data? What if we had a system like South Korea where regulators barred entities from signing up new accounts for months as a punishment for data security failures? Not just for breaches, but for repeated breaches where the company had failed to address known risks (such as the Wyndham case)?

There has to be something we can do to protect consumers better.

Think about it while I go grab some more coffee.




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