May 142012
 May 14, 2012  Posted by  Breaches, Featured News

I’m absolutely mind-boggled by an Israeli data theft that I’ve been covering over on

The gist of the situation is that a programmer allegedly copied a database with the details of millions of Israelis. Over the years, that database was shared and integrated with at least 11 other databases, shared some more, and became so freely available that pretty much anyone could get a detailed database of over 9 million people. It’s not clear to me yet whether the databases that were integrated include any medical or mental health data.

But with so much data “out there” in the wild and with such comprehensive dossiers available to everyone, what harm, if any, has resulted?

With all the news coverage I’ve been reading this year on the breach, I’ve yet to see any clear statement that people have been harmed by what seems like a frightful privacy and data security breach.

Surely someone in Israel must have “something to hide” that got exposed by the breach, no?  How does knowing so much data on you is “out there” and available to your neighbors and co-workers affect you psychologically? Or doesn’t it?

Is it the case that privacy advocates like myself really are too worried about privacy protection? Or is it the case that the culture in Israel is such that the types of exposure we’d worry about here are not such big issues there?

The privacy community has a “natural experiment” in the Israeli breach.  We should take  the opportunity to try to understand the impact of what happens when almost an entire country has their details available to everyone else.



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