Monday, October 30, 2006

GPS Tracking Will Curb the Rate of Laptop Computer Loss and Theft

News of the widespread loss of Commerce Department laptops since 2001—many assigned to the Census Bureau—has provided possible hints to explain the boom in identity theft seen these past few years, according to an authority in the field. The Commerce Department’s revelation of more than a thousand laptops lost earlier this fall, together with previously publicized research and the theft of laptops from other firms, has illustrated the need for companies to turn to solutions such as GPS tracking to curb the rate of laptops being irretrievably stolen or lost.

When you lose more than a thousand laptops—many of them containing Census Bureau data—less-than-scrupulous individuals are bound to find the information useful. With Census Bureau data in hand, the identity thief’s puzzle is a particularly easy one to complete.

Companies ought to consider solutions from providers such as MyLaptopGPS (, whose product of the same name not only tracks any stolen laptop worldwide via the Internet, but also silently removes important files once the machine is stolen—returning them to the rightful user while placing them out of the criminal’s reach.

The Commerce Department released figures showing the loss of more than 1,100 laptops since the year 2001. More than half, according to reports, had been assigned to the Census Bureau. The news was no surprise:

• In May, the theft of a laptop from the Veterans Affairs Department jeopardized millions of U.S. veterans’ identities. A few months later, another laptop theft there put the personal information of additional veterans at risk.

• In June, reported the loss of a company laptop containing the financial records of about 243,000 customers.

• Also in June, Equifax Inc., one of the three major credit reporting companies, suffered the theft of a laptop computer containing identifying information on the company’s 2,500 U.S. employees.

And more breaches have occurred since. Laptop security needs a revamp. These machines are, apparently, difficult for organizations to track and keep. GPS and other technologies would go a long way in curbing the rate of laptop loss and theft.


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