If you expect the government to protect you from cyber crimes, you better stop reading this. Go cut up your credit cards. You have no business using them.
The Justice Department put us on notice after the electronic information of millions of Americans was put at risk by the holiday cyber attack on Target. Washington has been using the escalation of cyber crimes and computer security problems to threaten us with everything from bad credit to death and destruction (see: The Real Cyber Threat Is From Politicians and Bureaucrats). While Democrats are busy insisting we need to be protected, cyber problems are flourishing in their own backyard.
Cyber crimes vs. Dodd-Frank’s Wall Street crimes.
With a name like the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act you would think that Democrats would have protected consumers from the impact of cyber crimes. The White House insisted that the bill would watch our backs:
That’s why President Obama overcame the big bank lobbyists to protect and empower families with the strongest consumer safeguards ever.1
Congress missed a safeguard. Dodd-Frank didn’t have much to do with cyber security, though last time I checked banks did most of the heavy lifting when it comes to credit cards and the bill did go after swipe fees. Credit cards were under the radar, but not in any way that protected consumers from cyber crimes.
Dodd-Frank created a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB has six divisions to hold government accountable for keeping your finances safe.2 In their eagerness to go after Wall Street and the banks lawmakers must have decided to save cyber crimes for later, even though the agency promised to:
Prevent financial harm to consumers while promoting good practices that benefit them.3
That’s a lot of responsibility for Washington. Smarter public officials would have asked Americans to protect themselves. The SEC has been involved in data breach notifications, but it was involved with not stopping Bernie Madoff, too. States have their own notification requirements to protect residents after cyber crimes and security lapses reveal their private data, but we know how Obama’s Democrats and Eric Holder, in particular, feel about states doing things on their own.
The good news for liberal politicians is that they can leverage a few votes from highly publicized cyber crimes and use them to strengthen the Democratic Party’s duty to protect us. On Monday, Attorney General Holder showed he was up to the task when it comes to cyber crime, warning:
As we’ve seen – especially in recent years – these crimes are becoming all too common. And they have the potential to impact millions of Americans every year.4
What does that mean? It means it’s time to punish businesses for votes like we punished Wall Street and the banks with Dodd-Frank. What better target than Target when the government needs a whipping boy after a security lapse?
Holder took time out from trampling state’s rights to stump for the dream of big government Democrats, another “strong, national standard”5 to ensure companies report security breaches in a timely manner. Apparently, the government doesn’t view the fear of losing customers and profit as being sufficient incentive to get the job done. Target would probably disagree.
Washington has problems with cyber crimes, too.
Does government need to step in and do a little constructive election year browbeating over a security problem it has in its own backyard? Instead of making a show of holding businesses responsible for how and when they report cyber crimes, how about making Washington accountable for security lapses, data breaches, and technology issues that can also impact millions of Americans?
Need a few examples? Where to start? How about:
Pentagon accusations of Chinese hackers breaking into U.S. government computer systems.
Iran hacking U.S. Navy computers (Iran? Seriously??).
Data breaches at the Department of Energy that exposed the information of over 100,000 workers.
Tax return fraud (who spent my check?).
Social Security fraud (Washington is in charge of those numbers, right?).
Tax credits and refunds paid out incorrectly (illegal immigrants have to make a living, too).
Health care records (what are all these Obamacare security warnings we keep hearing?).
Visas, illegal immigrants, and flight schools (see: Lawmakers Neglect This Deadly Immigration Issue).
Unemployment insurance fraud.
Bad government payments.
We could keep on going, but I think you get the point. Like Wall Street reform whacked the banks, our government wants to interfere in the contract between consumers and businesses under the guise of protecting the public from cyber crimes. Businesses know it is to their benefit to do right by customers. When they fail, they are punished by the free market. Government doesn’t have to worry about that. Maybe that’s why the security of our personal data and America’s secrets doesn’t matter so much when they are owned by Washington.