April 13, 2005

RON COLEMAN HAS IMPORTANT THOUGHTS on security and negligence inspired by the Lexis/Nexis debacle:

Unlike most bloggers (it seems), I am not a libertarian, nor the biggest "civil libertarian." I am skeptical of conspiracy theories and the like. And most private data, the stuff that the privacy fetishists obsess about, is, as one great man said (about something completely else), "dull, boring and omnipresent" and pretty much worthless -- a point I make to the typical would-be Internet defamation or privacy plaintiff in that weekly phone call we get around here.

But I will say this: If government agencies are going to use their presumptive police power to collect data, however legitimately, they are -- regardless of whether they outsource the task or not -- obligated to insure that this information is retained securely. Even a law-and-order, Burkean conservative can recognize that duty, a duty of competence which is after all a premise of civil government right after ordered liberty and somewhere above free ham hocks.

It looks like the State of Florida (the increasingly incompetent-looking State of Florida), which has taken a lead role in the Matrix database project, along with LexisNexis, has a lot of explaining to do.

Read the whole thing.