I’d like to share with you a paragraph from the New York Times on last week’s public exposure of 114,000 email addresses through an iPad security breach at AT&T:

AT&T Inc., reaching out to iPad users Sunday to explain why their email addresses were released last week, blamed the incident on “computer hackers” who “maliciously exploited” an attempt by the carrier to speed the process of logging in to its website.

The comments were the harshest yet by the carrier, which apologized for the security lapse and said it would cooperate with any efforts to investigate or prosecute the breach.

“AT&T takes your privacy seriously and does not tolerate unauthorized access to its customers’ information or company websites,” the company said.

The article goes on to say that to make matters worse, the breach was discovered by an outside company who claimed that without their disclosure, AT&T “would have never fixed it.”

Is anybody else outraged by this ridiculous statement by AT&T?  Damn it guys — How seriously do you actually take our privacy when the freaking service just went on sale two months ago and it was already hacked?  Do you think you’ve tested this sufficiently to prevent such an obvious problem? Apparently the breach was so easy it should have been quickly detected by your own internal analysts.

Can you believe those nasty ol’ “malicious” hackers would do such a thing to you? Poor babies!  What were you expecting dudes?  Benevolent hackers?  Mother Theresa hackers?  Care Bear hackers? This was your OWN FAULT!

When you observe the recent massive fails at Google, Facebook, and now AT&T, is there any question that it is just a matter of “when,” not “if” that this whole creaky system goes down in the biggest Internet privacy calamity yet?

It’s hard not to draw a comparison to the Internet fails and the disastrous oil spill.  Coming from a manufacturing background, I’m absolutely blown away that BP didn’t monitor and maintain a mission-critical process like the safety procedures on an ocean oil rig.  It’s criminal. If some hackers rubes can get around a few controls to access personal information from my iPad without much trouble, what’s brewing with the real cyber-terrorists out there?

Where are the standard testing procedures? Why aren’t these companies hiring their own hackers to discover flaws? Why is a company with the resources of AT&T taking shortcuts with our privacy?  When will it be time for national regulations and accountability on Internet security? Why wouldn’t AT&T and the others be investigated and fined for privacy breaches?

Sorry to be such a downer today folks and I know I’m opening up Pandora’s box on this issue but when I think about how our way of life on the Internet could be jeopardized by the way these large corporations are managing critical processes I can’t help but be alarmed.

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