It does not take much to have a security breach. Just one person can facilitate it. In this case, someone at a high-end investment firm installed LimeWire at the office. According to AP the breach began at the end of last year and continued to June of this year. Breyer’s birthday and Social Security number were part of the breach. Apparently around 2,000 other clients have also had their data shared on LimeWire.
Again the fact of data leaks or breaches is not so new. But given the high profile of the people involved in this one, there may be a movement to have laws passed about the problem. Remember video rentals matter because of Robert Bork’s encounter with data privacy issues during his nomination for the Supreme Court. This data problem is different from Bork’s. So a legislative response may come but it will likely address the issue of identity theft. On the other hand, if senators, representatives, and White House staffers found that even their legal but perhaps interesting surfing habits were part of public knowledge and gossip, maybe the data collection and Internet monitoring that some think is necessary will be seen a threat. One paper that may be of interest on this idea is Neil Richards’s Intellectual Privacy.