This IDC Government Insights Perspective discusses U.S. citizens' views regarding the protection of personal information.
We live in interesting times where a more public life in a digital world is the norm. As individuals, organizations, and institutions, we share information online as we participate in communities, interact with friends and organizations, and purchase goods and services. All the direct and indirect information from our actions and interactions is collected, stored, dissected, and analyzed so organizations can understand us and influence us. The result is that there is a lot of information about us out there -- stored in databases across the country and across the globe. Personal information has become a commodity and a currency that is bought, sold, and traded 24 x 365. And a lot of it is poorly protected, resulting in numerous cases of personal information theft and misuse every day.
One of the primary concerns today for citizens, businesses, and government agencies is the protection of personal information. Whether the damage results from poor handling of the data or a specific malicious insider theft or hacking a system, the potential damage to both individuals and institutions is staggering. For example, the Victims of Identity Theft, 2012 from Bureau of Justice Statistics -- a U.S. federal agency in the Department of Justice -- estimated that in 2012, more than 16.6 million people in the United States experienced some form of identity theft, with financial losses of almost $25 billion. And it is likely that the number of people affected by the personal information theft and the impact of this will continue to grow.