Share
Explore BrainMass

Identity Theft and Companies Handling Customer Information

Help with the questions below.

What is meant by the term identity theft? What can happen to a person who is the victim of identity theft?

In the United States, information that a company collects about the customer is legally the company's property. In the European Union, this information is the individual's property. Explain why there is this difference in the legal treatment of this information.

In reference to a company sharing information that it has collected about a customer, what is meant by "opt-in"? By "opt-out"? In your opinion, which of these is preferable?

What do U.S. laws require a financial company to do in regard to sharing information that it has collected on its customers?

In your opinion, what is the most important social issue raised by the pervasiveness of IT? Why? How can society best deal with this issue?

Solution Preview

What is meant by the term identity theft? What can happen to a person who is the victim of identity theft?

Identity theft is stealing a person's credit/ATM card number, personal identification number, password, physical representation, and name and using this information to transact business in any government or private entities. Identity usually happens online and the theft seems invisible in every transaction and disappears without any trace.
An identity theft victim may be clueless that his/her identity has been stolen. The immediate effect is unexplained online banking withdrawals, mysterious credit card purchases, and inability to log-in to online accounts.

In the United States, information that a company collects about the customer is legally the company's property. In the European Union, this information is the individual's property. Explain why there is this difference in the legal treatment of this information.

United States has experienced more tragedy than the European Union. The 911 terrorist attacks on US soil change the nation's perception of security. This gave us Homeland Security and the Patriot Act. This legislation allowed US security agencies to "order[s] for certain types of business records [such as] library patron lists, book sales records, and medical records" (McCullagh,2005).

By recognizing any US companies' ownership to customer information, the US government can easily obtain these data from those companies without asking for permission from individual customers. McCullagh (2011) noted this arrangement when he wrote that "AT&T has opened its customer information database to the NSA. And... that the NSA 'has been secretly collecting the phone call records ...

Solution Summary

The solutions discusses identity theft and its impact to society.

$2.19