Are companies looking out for your safety?

Can you as a consumer trust organizations to look after your well-being?  There is no shortage of examples of companies skirting into questionable behavior in order to get a leg up, whether or not it involves risking people’s physical (health), virtual (personal data), and cloud (environmental) safety.

We only have to remember incidents like Volkswagen’s emissions scandal some years back to observe the environmental risks.  In order to pass their emissions test, the company installed in millions of their cars a secret “testing mode,” to show authorities they were compliant with regulations.  When the test was over, however, the computer would switch to a separate mode for their drivers, delivering higher mileage and power in exchange for heavier toxic emissions. 

When this was discovered, it was a global scandal, one which ended in a $14.7 billion settlement for Volkswagen.  And that was just one aspect of the repercussions, which also included a forced $10 billion buyback program for customers seeking compensation, as well as further settlements.  In 2018, the company even decided to sue at least one of its former executives for his role in the incident, while he and others were already sentenced to prison.

More recently, in the realm of physical security, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued recalls for certain ground cinnamon products sold at U.S. discount retailers like Dollar Tree, due to having high levels of lead contamination.  Now, putting lead in people’s food in 2024 shouldn’t be something that needs to be actively discouraged, and yet here we are.

And finally, data breaches create a growing risk to the protection of your personal data,  whether it be ransomware, social engineering, artificial intelligence, and others. Every transaction you make requires entering your personal information – not just purchases with your credit card, but also when you enter your Social Security number, address, etc. for setting up a new account. How certain are you that the provider/vendor you are sharing your personal details with is in fact protecting your data?    

If organizations are willing to screw over their customers on these fronts, it’s no surprise when they mislead about the encryption of your sensitive data.  Like when Zoom paid an $85 million settlement a few years ago over claims that it lied about providing end-to-end encryption while also sharing user data with Google and Facebook without consent.

How can you be sure that the organization you’re giving your business to isn’t misleading you?  Well, unfortunately you can’t. That being said, you can make a choice to ask for a “proof of purchase” if there is any doubt in your mind that your data is at risk. 

Due your due diligence. Has a new vendor ever had an issue that would put you at risk such as a data breach. If the answer is yes, then you have rights about where and how your data is shared, whether physically, virtually or in the cloud – exercise them.


By: Jonathan Weicher, post on March 18, 2024
Originally published at: https://www.netlibsecurity.com
Copyright: NetLib Security