Thursday, January 03, 2008

Some Last Thoughts on Tonight's Council Public Safety Meeting

  • CM Megan Barry asked the most direct, soul-searching question of the night when she pondered whether any of those officials speaking to the Council about the Metro Election Commission break-in had any second thoughts on something, anything that they might have done differently. It was frustrating to hear the Director of General Services say that they provide security for people but not necessarily for laptops as it was frustrating to hear the Director of IT address the disconnect between her office and the computer protocols of other departments as it was frustrating to hear Ray Barrett blame the state about social security number insecurities. I appreciate the fact that these people are in difficult positions and to a certain extent they have little authority across departments, but I don't understand why, as Director Whittemore put it, experience had to be the best teacher in this case. It seems to me that an ounce of common sense about security and protocols and confirming that DVRs are operational would have been more valuable than waiting for experience to teach us something in painful retrospect. Do we no longer hire leaders for careful forethought, planning, and prevention?
  • Sandy Cole indicated that her office was in talks with Dell Computer to explore technology or knowledge they might be willing to share for tracking down the lost laptops, which were made by Dell. One CM pointed out that Dell owes Nashville a solid for assisting its recent expansion in Middle Tennessee.
  • IT Director Cole addressed a question on the lack of encryption on the stolen laptops by saying that, since encryption software is loaded on the same laptops as the information that might have been encrypted then encryption would have done very little. She said that best practices would indicate that sensitive data should never be stored on a hard drive or on a mobile device. No kidding. Does it take an IT professional for Election Commission Officials to see the self-evidence of that? Obviously not, since they didn't listen to Metro IT's advice in the first place.
  • CM Emily Evans shares her perspective on tonight's meeting.
  • PiTW's PJ Tobia reminds us that the billion-dollar security subcontractor hired by General Services to insure insecurity at MEC, Wackenhut, already has a history of rip offs, lax and botched security at nuclear power plants, and aid to terrorist organizations. I agree with the Council Members who argued tonight that Wackenhut should be relieved of their duties. In fact, may I suggest an investigation into how they got the contract in the first place (to make sure it didn't involve noncompetitive influence peddling or backroom boosterism)? For the life of me, I don't understand why Metro would hire a subcontractor with that track record.
  • One CM pointed out that without a police report, credit reporting agencies will charge consumers for credit freezes. For those Nashvillians with access to a computer and printer, Metro has put the police report online here. Now what about those Nashvillians without access to a computer and printer?


  1. thank you for the police report!

  2. It's my understanding that you have to have a police report indicating that your identity has been stolen AND is being used unlawfully. (I read this on the Equifax web site.) However, I am going to call and get confirmation of that today.

  3. It's free to put a fruad alert on your credit report. Call one and they will forward it to the other two.

  4. I spoke with someone from Equifax. She said that a copy of the police report and the letter from the Election Commission should be sufficient to have the credit freeze fee waved.

  5. Just for clarification, I was speaking of a credit freeze, not a fraud alert. Fraud alerts are free, but creditors still have access to your report. In addition, some creditors, in the interest of making quick money, essentially ignore these alerts and fail to notify the credit holder before issuing new credit. A security freeze actually prevents anyone from viewing a credit report without your direct consent. It's a much more effective way of protecting your credit.