If identity theft isn't already on your radar screen, this headline will put it there: "13,000 Credit Reports Stolen by Hackers." Ford Motor's customer credit reports, containing a treasure trove of identifying information such as Social Security, bank account and credit card numbers, had been lodged in a supposedly secure database at Experian Information Solutions, one of the nation's biggest credit agencies. The hackers simply bypassed security by posing as employees of Ford.
Stories by Alison Bass
Five years ago, when Eugene Chan, then 24, announced that he was dropping out of Harvard Medical School to pursue the lodestar of faster, more powerful DNA analysis, friends and family asked, "Eugene, are you crazy?"
As if CIOS don't have enough to worry about, marketing guru Regis McKenna argues in his new book, Total Access (Harvard Business School Press, March 2002), that they are now the guardians of customer strategy and outreach -- functions once considered marketing's responsibility. When a customer has a problem and contacts the company via the Web or a call center, if that query is not resolved quickly and completely, the customer's trust in that company may evaporate. And who is in charge of the infrastructure that supports such crucial customer interactions? You guessed it: the CIO. CIO recently talked to McKenna about his view of the CIO's evolving role.
CIO: Customers still need to be catered to and their needs analyzed so that a company can keep improving its products and services, so why wouldn't the VP of marketing be in charge of what you call "total access"?
Americans have long been suspicious of the idea of a national ID card, particularly one linked to a centralized database kept by the federal government. Even after Sept. 11, a majority of Americans (according to various polls) oppose Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison's concept of a national ID card embedded with biometrics. We-the-people seem to get the Big Brother ramifications of technologies that permit the instantaneous collection and analysis of reams of data. But there's another side to this stuff that gets less attention but is just as insidious.
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