More on data loss compensation - would $54m do?

Whilst we’re discussing compensation for data loss, a US citizen is suing Best Buy for $54m for the loss of her laptop.

Apparently Best Buy lost the $1,100 laptop when it was in for repair. Initially offered $900, she said no. That offer went up to $2,600, but still wasn’t good enough. No, she wants $54m plus a commitment from Best Buy that they’ll train employees on privacy issues. This demonstrates a serious point about data loss that is very useful for explaining the importance of privacy, which goes something like this:

1. How much security does a laptop need?

2. How much security does that laptop need if it contains 10,000 names and addresses?

3. How much security does it require if it’s got 1m credit card numbers in it?

4. And how much security would you give it if you owned it yourself?

5. And what about if it contains your bank records, photos of your family and some downloaded images of an [ahem] adult nature that you’d really prefer your partner didn’t see?

Security experts will of course be asking what that data is doing on the laptop in the first place. Privacy advocates will be demanding the right to store whatever they please on their laptops so long as it complies with privacy laws. And someone in the US apparently believes that the contents of that laptop are worth $53,998,900. Wow – I must get someone to lose my laptop sometime.