Daily Archives: 2006-05-29

ATMs and Disclosure Laws

My local freesheet had an article entitled ‘Skimming device found at Tesco’ (‘Bedfordshire on Sunday’, May 21, p 30). This managed barely 6 column inches, so common is the offence these days. What caught my eye was an appeal by the police for anyone who used the machine at Flitwick between 1030 and 1130 AM on Tuesday last week to check their accounts and report any unauthorised transactions.

Now hang on. What can’t the bank that operates the machine help them? They have the definitive list of potential victims. Come to think of it, when a skimmer is found on Barclays’ machine, and they see that customer X from Lloyds just used it, why don’t they write to Lloyds suggesting they invite her to check her account? Well, you can imagine what Barclays’ lawyers would think of that, but where does the public interest lie?

The Americans do this sort of thing much better. California has a law mandating prompt notification of individuals potentially affected by information compromises, and many other states are trying to follow. According to survey reported by SANS, 71% of Americans want this to become a federal law, and 46% said that they would have serious doubts about political candidates who did not support improving the law.

I initially had my doubts about the Californian initiative, but Tescos in Flitwick are helping convince me.