International News Desk – At Home: Retailers? hard drives could expose customer data to thieves – In Foreign News: Germany fights Google over recording of private wireless routers

International News Desk – At Home: Retailers? hard drives could expose customer data to thieves – In Foreign News: Germany fights Google over recording of private wireless routers

At Home: Retailers? hard drives could expose customer data to thieves

If you use credit or debit cards, you probably know you should protect your data. But what about the stores you swipe those cards at? As this CBC Marketplace video reveals, many of them aren’t doing as good a job as you think.

The report, ?Who’s Minding the Store?,? explains a rising trend in data theft: stealing the hard drives from debit and credit card point-of-sale terminals. Thieves can access hundreds of names, credit and debit card numbers, and expiry dates from a single hard drive. The info can be sold, used to make new cards, or even used to make purchases directly by the thieves.

Although customer data is supposed to be erased from the terminals each day, that often doesn’t happen and the hard drives are a windfall of valuable information. The stores that the CBC investigated did not want to be identified, but It’s worth noting that hard-drive thefts target a wide variety of services, including restaurants, gas stations, and major retailers. So even if you avoid one store that doesn’t properly delete your data, there’s no guarantee your debit and credit info won’t be at risk somewhere else.

The banks may cover your losses, but those costs eventually get passed right back on to consumers. If there’s a debit or credit card in your wallet, this Marketplace video may be a real eye-opener.

In Foreign News: Germany fights Google over recording of private wireless routers

Germany dropped a legal challenge over Google’s Street View last year when the search giant agreed to several measures, including giving people the option to remove their property from Street View archives. However, a new controversy surfaced recently when German regulators discovered that, besides taking pictures, Google’s Street View technology also collects and stores data about wireless networks in private homes.

As The New York Times reports, Google has been ?recording the location of wireless routers with its roving cameras and antennas.? Wireless networks are increasingly common in homes and businesses. A network’s router is identified by a name chosen by its owner and also ?broadcasts a unique identification number.?

Peter Schaar, Germany’s data protection administrator, requested that Google immediately stop collecting the data, but the company continues to do so, saying the information is in the public domain. In defending the company’s actions, a Google spokesman noted that many other companies around the world collect such information and store it in databases.

Still, some officials aren’t confident about Google’s intentions, including Johannes Caspar, the head of data protection in Hamburg. As he told reporters, ?The question is what will Google do with this information? How are they going to use it??

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