Do We Need A Password Coordination Agency?

There is a lot of discussion out there about the injustice of bankers getting 8-figure bonuses—and I’m all for the ire (Too soon?  Yes, too soon.)—but, today, I’ve got more pressing matters on my mind.

Yes, there is a new 8-figure menace on the horizon.

Westlaw’s OnePass.

It seems that, once again, I must change one of my passwords. According to Westlaw, choosing a new 8-to-70-character-long password that must include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and numerals (or special characters), will result in “more security, more control, [and] more convenience.”

Perhaps for Westlaw, but what about for me?

I’ve got so many passcodes in my head (for email accounts, checking accounts, personal and work computers, wireless routers, gas, electric, cable, and telephone company accounts, retirement accounts, student loan accounts, voicemail accounts . . . I could go on and on) that I’m either constantly forgetting them or I have them written down in embarrassingly obvious places. And every month it seems like I’m forced to change one or another (usually right at the moment that I have it committed to memory).

Enough is enough. I am hereby calling on President Obama and Congress to table this whole Consumer Financial Protection Agency business (in fact, better take a breather on global climate change, job creation, and terrorism, just to be safe) and focus on creating a new Password Coordination Agency.

We’ve seen the world of unregulated passwords and it is not pretty.

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5 Responses

  1. I have to say, the Westlaw password thing was the last straw for me, too. A million years ago, I had a horribly long Westlaw password that was a string of letters and numbers no one should have to memorize. Then Westlaw makes me come up with a logon and an ID for “ease of use.” Now I have to have a horribly long logon and ID with letters, numbers, etc. All to protect a service that Westlaw gives out free to thousands of people and charges an astronomical amount to a few people. And mostly so I can access documents generated by the government for free. Whatever.

  2. Chris Stone says:

    If you are on a Mac, you should try 1Password, it does a great job of managing passwords. I’m sure there are similar utilities for windows, but I can’t recommend any of them.


  3. Adam Benforado says:

    Right on, Christine — and what’s particularly frustrating to me is that every entity that I deal with seems to adopt the same approach (i.e., constantly updating its security system, requiring a new password, and assuming that it’s no big hassle because how hard is memorizing one new code?).

    Thanks for the suggestion, Chris. Yet another reason why I should have a Mac!

  4. Kaimi says:

    I have had to request a new pw four times since the start of the year. Westlaw’s new pw system is eee-vill.

  5. Kaimi says:

    I finally just wrote my latest pw down on a post-it on the wall in my office.

    Wouldn’t be best practices with my ATM pin number. But I’m less worried about someone really wanting to break into my office and do legal research.