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Personal Information Dump

By Adrian Lane

Interesting story of a San Francisco commercial landlord who found 46 boxes of personal information and financial data for thousands of people left behind by a failed title company.

The boxes were the detitrus of what was until last year a thriving business, Financial Title. Then the economy tanked, and the company folded up its locations all across California, including the one Tookoian rented to it.

“They basically abruptly closed shop,” he said as he walked past the company’s logo still affixed to a white wall. “Turned the lights off, closed the door and walked away.”

Despite all of the data breaches and crazy stuff we see in the data security profession, I am still shocked at this type of carelessness. I expect to see prosecutors go after the owners of the company for failure to exercise their custodial responsibilities for these records.

Ridout says the Federal Trade Commission has implemented new laws requiring businesses to properly dispose of sensitive personal information. So far, an Illinois mortgage company was fined $50,000 for throwing personal records in a dumpster. But fines like that are rare.

And after his good deed of having the records destroyed, the landlord still had to pay the bill. Perhaps the FTC will set an example in this case.

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