An Iowa State University professor’s written a book on Identity Theft. Dr. Steffen Schmidt says in a way it’s a price we pay for the convenience of using the Internet to communicate, shop, read news and do other things. There’s a whole new world, he says in which we can do things and even contact our government without ever leaving home or physically going anywhere. A professor of political science and public policy, Schmidt says in one way, the ease of using the Internet is wonderful. He says it’s opened up a revolution in commerce, and government. He points out it also raises questions about the danger that other people will gain access to information of yours to which they’re not entitled — your medical records, financial data, credit-cards and social-security number, and then misuse it. He says public policy has to focus on this huge problem and what can be done about it, to safeguard people from this new kind of crime.Schmidt’s new book’s titled “Who Is You? — The Coming Epidemic of Identity Theft,” co-authored with insurance industry professional Mike McCoy. People may be alert when they’re out in public, or traveling in a strange place, to be sure nobody picks their pocket. But Schmidt says this is a similar kind of theft, that takes place in the marketplace of the Internet. Now, the danger’s not just that someone in a crowded market, mall or cafe will steal your stuff, but that somebody who could be thousands of miles away might hack into your computer and steal your most valuable information. Schmidt says it’s a concern for business because such thieves may bgreak into the files of banks, insurance or other companies and steal that information about their clients. He says it’s a fulltime job defending that information and keeping it private.
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