You are probably wondering what’s going on with Equifax? And you’re not alone. The new CEO literally had one job. Which was to find the underlying problems responsible for exposing 146 million people’s personal information, and then to fix it. On Wednesday, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., told Congress that he didn’t know if his company was encrypting consumer data. Umm…? Seriously? It’s been a few months since this happened, and a few since this guy has been the new CEO, so why doesn’t he know? And more importantly, why haven’t they fixed it?
To recap: the breach was discovered in July, but the company didn’t report it until September. Actually, I think the breach was initially discovered in the spring. Which means, they have had a ton of time to figure out the answers to these super simple questions. When asked if Equifax was now encrypting consumer data, Barros stated, “I don’t know at this stage”. Again – seriously? That’s all you had to do. This should be the number one question you ask your staff when you become CEO, isn’t it? And if they don’t know, you fire them and get new staff who can answer those questions.
This is honestly a cluster of the first degree. How do you not know? And I can’t decide what’s worse – him not knowing or the fact that they might not be encrypting your data at this point? Equifax had encouraged people to buy into their products after the breach because they were going to keep you safe. But now that looks like it was just a money grab, doesn’t it? If you’re going to offer credit products to protect you, you have to be able to deliver on those products, don’t you?
The company has been investigated by numerous government entities since it finally decided to reveal the breach in September. It’s being looked into for stock manipulation while Congress continues to dig for answers concerning how the company let the breach happen and what it’s doing about it. Equifax gave their last CEO a ton of cash while he exited promptly to stage right. So all of this seems a bit shady. Doesn’t it?
Any company who has an “I don’t know” response to a question that speaks to a major part of their business, shouldn’t be allowed to look after your intimate financial details. Am I wrong? Equifax simply can’t be depended on to safeguard our information. Especially when the company shows absolutely no accountability. Instead of hammering Equifax with questions about their technological practices, Congress should ask themselves why Equifax is still in business? And depending on what their answer is, they might want to consider next steps to remove Equifax from being a business. People are going to be cautious when giving their personal data out to people from now on. And they should be. But is there a way to achieve both of these things? Can we have a system where we can hand over this information and benefit from the service that they provide?