Another US organisation has found its data retention policies under question after Marriott Vacation Club International, a subsidiary of hotel group Marriott International, said backup computer tapes containing data on thousands of customers and employees were missing.
The tapes contained data such as addresses and some credit card information of about 206,000 employees, timeshare owners and customers.
The missing data is the latest in a series of cases in which personal information about a company's customers or employees has been stolen or gone missing, raising concerns about possible identity theft. Other companies that have experienced such incidents include Bank of America and Boeing.
Some analysts, however, say fears about identity theft are overblown. Thieves often find it hard to use stolen credit card information, since the cards are usually cancelled quickly and piecing together an identity based on the information on the card is hard work.
Marriott Vacation Club said it discovered the tapes were missing from its corporate offices in Orlando in the middle of November, and had delayed
disclosing the loss so it could first begin an internal investigation into what had happened to the tapes and what they contained.
Analysts may believe fears about identity theft are overblown, but they're wrong. Identity theft is worrying, real, and insidious - and should not be treated lightly.