Don’t give businesses a pass when their computers get hacked

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
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Don’t give businesses a pass when their computers get hacked

When I was teaching, my students and I watched some fascinating footage of chimpanzees researched by Frans de Waal. The author of the study had learned that even these “lower primates” understand proper behavior, even empathy. When someone was naughty, perhaps taking too much of some food or taking food away from another, there were consequences.

After the member was shunned and left out of activities for a time, they were invited to rejoin the group. Somewhere between these primates and intelligent and powerful humankind, something has been lost.

According to the April 19 Gazette story, “Cybersecurity bill sails through House,” personal information that is hacked from a business is not the fault of the business, and they are “granted immunity if hacked, as long as they acted in good faith.” Hmmm. Acting in good faith is enough to grant them immunity being sued for loss of personal information, possibly ruining someone’s life for a while and costing lots of money?

Later in the article, reporter Anne Flaherty says the bill allows for the businesses to pass on the information to the government without “scrubbing data for sensitive information.” Let’s see — if it costs money to keep the personal information safe, and costs money to scrub the data, a business might put up a minimal front against hacking and still not be considered accountable if the data is taken — if they “acted in good faith.” Sorry, most businesses and individuals do the right thing under some sort of pressure — either laws or guilt.

I am not feeling secure about my personal data after reading this article. At the close of the article, it states that “the White House echoed the concern ... that citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable.”

So, what is your job right now? Tell the White House you agree and you want this bill vetoed, as threatened. Even chimps know that there are consequences for bad behavior.

Janice Walz


Tedisco claimed he backed equal pay, but voted no

If you recall, during Jim Tedisco’s re-election campaign for the 112th Assembly District, there were two debates. One of these issues was equality; as the challenger in that particular campaign, I remember it as if it were yesterday. Our representative claimed he agreed with me, that he supported “equal pay for equal work.”

So on April 19, when I saw the headlines that the “New York State Fair Pay Act” (A05958) passed in the Assembly, I checked the vote tally. Our representative lied to us: He does not support “equal pay for equal work,” he voted no.

He voted no on a bill that states that it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate between employees on the basis of sex, race and/or national origin by paying different wages.

Now let’s see if he can talk his way out of this one!

Michele Draves


Cigarette butts are a scourge on the landscape

Spring is a beautiful time of the year. It’s a time of rejuvenation, growth, and finally some warmer temperatures. Also, this is the time for trash, with cigarette butts being the biggest culprit; and they do more damage to the Earth than you would think.

According to the American Legacy Foundation, cigarette butts are the No. 1 form of trash on America’s highways, beaches and waterways. Most people are unaware that cigarette butts contain filters that are made from cellulose acetate, which is technically considered biodegradable, but only in certain situations. Even in the most ideal conditions, the filters usually take at least nine months to degrade, but in some instances they can take over 10 years to completely decompose.

Additional to the butts, cigarette and tobacco packages litter the ground, especially around areas that have retailers that sell these deadly products. Cigarettes themselves have over 7,000 chemicals in them, including acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, jet fuel and rat poison. These chemicals are still present in the butts and cannot only poison plant life, but they can seep into groundwater, be eaten by wildlife and pets, and even in some instances, children.

Do your part to clean up and reduce the amount of tobacco and other trash that pollutes our communities.

Justin Hladik

Ballston Spa

The writer is program coordinator for Reality Check of Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties.

First and foremost, address pension padding

It was interesting to see the different strategies for funding state and municipal pensions by the governor and others [April 13 editorial, “A little pension relief for school districts”].

If this means that there is serious consideration being given to this problem, I wonder if thought is being given to the other side of the issue, i.e., the blatant abuse of many of the retirees who pile on overtime, vacation leave, sick leave, comp time, etc., to [push] up their pension well above their regular pay level.

There is more to fiscal management than a mathematical balance. Cheating, corruption and waste should be the first consideration for all budget items and issues.

Eugene Whitney


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April 24, 2013
9:23 a.m.
justapto says...

Justin; what about those workers that show up to your house and drop their butts at the front door, all around the yard and flick them into the drive way as if they have no respect for the people paying them. I have fired several guys who actually get hostile when I asked them to 'pick up your trash and butts'.
It appears that the majority of smokers today are lower social-economic class. No wonder they lack the skills to advance. Another example of poor upbringing and lack of basic social skills that the schools don't teach.

April 24, 2013
9:36 a.m.
cidbil says...

Michele Draves: And this surprises you in what way? I expect nothing less from our "leaders".

April 24, 2013
2:23 p.m.
biwemple says...

Hackers get through some of the best firewalls, encryption, compromised passwords, use social engineering, you name it, to gain access to information. So if a company uses multiple barriers and still gets hacked, you still think they ought to get punished? Are you one of those people that think that if their kid trespasses, scales a fence around a dangerous area with warning signs, then gets hurt in the area afterwards, the property owner should still be sued for negligence? I'm no defender of big business, but I do work in the IT world and the methods that are used to hack into systems are very difficult to defend against even with the best security measures.

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