Don’t waste your breath complaining to Equifax about data breach

Trusted security expert Bruce Schneier has some advice for those of you (and us), looking for answers from Equifax on the breach they announced last week. That advice is: “Don’t waste your breath complaining to Equifax about data breach“.

In a nutshell, his advice goes like this – you’re not Equifax’s customer, but instead, you’re their product.

Many sites posted guides to protecting yourself now that it’s happened. But if you want to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, your only solution is government regulation (as unlikely as that may be at the moment).

The market can’t fix this. Markets work because buyers choose between sellers, and sellers compete for buyers. In case you didn’t notice, you’re not Equifax’s customer. You’re its product.

This happened because your personal information is valuable, and Equifax is in the business of selling it. The company is much more than a credit reporting agency. It’s a data broker. It collects information about all of us, analyzes it all, and then sells those insights.

Its customers are people and organizations who want to buy information: banks looking to lend you money, landlords deciding whether to rent you an apartment, employers deciding whether to hire you, companies trying to figure out whether you’d be a profitable customer — everyone who wants to sell you something, even governments.

It’s not just Equifax. It might be one of the biggest, but there are 2,500 to 4,000 other data brokers that are collecting, storing, and selling information about you — almost all of them companies you’ve never heard of and have no business relationship with.

They are not going to help beyond what they are mandated to do. So … what can you do?

Bruce’s article summarized it in the last sentence:

If you don’t like how careless Equifax was with your data, don’t waste your breath complaining to Equifax. Complain to your government.

Our take?

Bruce is right – contact your elected officials!

We would normally suggest starting local and then going up the chain, but in this particular instance, we would go in reverse. Don’t bother calling the white house, that’s a waste of time. But instead start with your Senators, then your US Representatives, and then state Governors, state attorney generals, state legislators – in that order.

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