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Friday, July 14, 2006

When Will we Get Full Answers and FULL Accountability on The VA’s “Security Issue”?

As if losing the information for 26.5 MILLION US “Veterans” wasn’t enough - The VA is slowly and eventually explaining how and why this breach happened...well sort of.

Secretary Nicholson announced that the data had been stolen on May 22, 2006, but neglected to tell the American public that they learned of the breach happened a full thirteen days before the public announcement. He also left out some other crucial details as we will see later in this blog.

When the public outrage exceeded their expectations, the VA initiated their own investigating while having the audacity to highlight their “Innovations in American Government Award” for their model system of electronic health records. Talk about hutspa! To simultaineously promote the same electronic medical record system that lead to the violation of millions of Veterans and their families as a model of efficiency resulting in high patient satisfaction is a disgrace to those that got the short end of the stick when it comes to the VA’s data security system.

The first official response from the VA was to post a “We’re Sorry” page on their website titled - “Veterans Affairs data security issue” with a simple announcement:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently learned that an employee, a data analyst, took home electronic data from the VA, which he was not authorized to do. This behavior was in violation of our policies. This data contained identifying information including names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. Importantly, the affected data did not include any of VA's electronic health records nor any financial information. The employee's home was burglarized and this data was stolen. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. Still being paid, but on “Administrative Leave”.

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson has briefed the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, co-chairs of the President's Identity Theft Task Force. Task Force members have already taken actions to protect the affected veterans, including working with the credit bureaus to help ensure that veterans receive the free credit report they are entitled to under the law. Additionally, the Task Force will meet today, 22 May 2006, to coordinate the comprehensive Federal response, recommend further ways to protect affected veterans, and increase safeguards to prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents.

The first response was to protect Credit Reports and offer free credit monitoring? Shouldn’t they be worried about National Security and the lives of our serving men and women or their families? Hold on - the rabbit hole gets deeper...

This is an excerpt from the first letter that was sent to the US Veterans by the VA -

Dear Veteran:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently learned that an employee took home electronic data from the VA, which he was not authorized to do and was in violation of established policies. The employee’s home was burglarized and this data was stolen. The data contained identifying information including names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. As a result of this incident, information identifiable with you was potentially exposed to others. It is important to note that the affected data did not include any of VA’s electronic health records or any financial information.

With the above information, I could find out everything there is to know about you including what you had for lunch yesterday. Credit card records, banking, brokerage accounts, home loans, everything is tied to three primary national credit reporting databases that are relatively easily accessible.

The VA set up a hotline for affected Veterans, Servicemen and their SPOUSES to call and get more information on the breach and how to protect their credit. Protecting their credit should be the least of their worries. Read on and you’ll see why.

On June 3, 2006, the VA had this to say -

(The) VA has learned through its ongoing analysis of the data stolen on up to 26.5 million individuals, and in discussions with the Department of Defense, that private information – the names, Social Security Numbers and dates of birth – on certain National Guard and Reserve personnel who are on at least their second federalized active duty call-up could potentially be included. The number of those potentially affected is believed to be between 10,000 and 20,000.

Additionally, private information – the names, Social Security Numbers and dates of birth – on some active duty U.S. Navy personnel may be involved. This could potentially include members of the U.S. Navy who remain on active duty and completed their first enlistment term prior to 1991. Working with the Department of Defense, VA has determined this group likely consists of between 25,000 and 30,000 individuals.

We found out later that not only was prior Veterans information included, but current service members information was also included in the data on an unsecured drive. But wait - the story gets even more interesting ...the numbers just don’t add up!

Imagine the horror of having identifying information including names, addresses social security numbers, and dates of birth and even disability and medical information of every single soldier and veteran in the hands of Al Qaeda. Why fight an war in Iraq or Afghanistan against an armed foe when you have access to their unarmed families here in the USA and can pick them off at will with a sniper in the shopping center parking lot?

On June 6th, the VA released another “Gem” by way of a website release - “Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson today announced that data stolen on 26.5 million individuals included information on more active-duty military personnel than initial findings indicated.”

VA announced over the weekend that information on some active-duty personnel were among the data stolen on up to 26.5 million individuals. Initial findings from VA and the Department of Defense indicated the personal information on approximately 50,000 active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel may have been involved.

As the two agencies compared electronic files, VA and DoD learned that personal information on as many as 1.1 million military members on active duty, 430,000 members of the National Guard, and 645,000 members of the Reserves may have been included in the data theft.

This information is pulled from the VA’s own website. They proudly state:

On July 21, 2005, VA celebrated its 75th Anniversary. It had grown from the Veterans Administration with an operating budget of $786 million serving 4.6 million veterans in 1930 to the Department of Veterans Affairs with a budget of $63.5 billion serving nearly 25 million veterans today.

If the VA Serves a TOTAL of 25 Million Veterans and the amount of data “lost” was 26.5 Million...Wait a minute - even with the “New Math” that doesn’t make sense.

According to Pentagon numbers there are approximately 1.5 Million troops currently serving in the armed forces. If we take both numbers and add them together we come up with - - - 26.5 MILLION, which just happens to be the magic number of the records that were on the disk.

This means that the personal information of potentially EVERY SINGLE Veteran AND current Active Duty military members was exposed to a security breach and potential public distribution, even to our enemies through purchase on the “very real and readily available” illicit market of personal data.

There has been enough fertilizer in the responses from the leadership at the VA to cover the lawns of all 26.5 million victims. And they are still covering up and minimizing the potential damage to every American Citizen and our communities.

Imagine the horror of having identifying information including names, addresses, social security numbers, and dates of birth and even disability and medical information of every single soldier and veteran in the hands of Al Qaeda. Why fight an war in Iraq or Afghanistan against an armed foe when you have access to their unarmed families here in the USA and can pick them off at will in the shopping center parking lot? Do not be complacent enough to think that our enemies have not thought about this as a tactic and the fact that the US Government didn’t even think about warning the families or Veterans about this probable outcome of the data breach is unforgiveable.

Every single American citizen and especially the military community should be screaming at the top of their lungs and mad as hell over this blatant stupidity and complete disregard for the law, our soldiers and their families safety and the internal data security. Now the FBI has announced that they have recovered the laptop and that it has a “high degree of confidence” that the sensitive files were not accessed or compromised. Somehow I don’t have a “high degree of confidence” in their findings. I do have however a “high degree of confidence” that they want to sweep this under the rug as quickly as possible.

The new slogan of the US Government Portal Site is “Expect More” and from the above outline, it seems they are delivering on that promise - more information every day - more obfuscation, deceit, cover-ups and comprimizing of our National Security!

Heads should roll at the VA, Pentagon and every other agency involved with this national disgrace.

In another program of self-congratulations and incestuous gladhanding, a new government initiative that rates government agencies even rated the Department of Veterans Affairs as PERFORMING MODERATELY EFFECTIVELY.

“A program rated Moderately Effective has set ambitious goals and is well-managed.”

Well Managed? Moderately Effective? Yeah, Right.

Laptop Computer - $1500.00, External Hard Drive - $300.00, Total Budget - $63.5 Billion, One Data Analyst putting ALL of our Soldiers, Veterans and their Families at risk with blatant stupidity - Priceless!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Secure the Damn Data Already

Your Data - Your Choice - Your Security

There is almost not a day that goes by that we don’t hear about a Government Agency, Corporation or other entity losing a device with private data. Most, if not all of this data is confidential and should never be on a non-encrypted or non-secure portable disk, however this is the world in which we live. Data Analysts need to take their work home. Business Managers need customer and sales data for planning, forecasting and business modeling. Even on a personal level, we often need to transport files from PC to PC or synchronize data amongst mutliple platforms - laptop, desktop, etc.

Your data is valuable. Your data is in demand. Your private data is everywhere.

From the purchases you made using the “Club Card” at the local supermarket to the last oil change you had done at the SuperCenter, the plane ticket you bought online, and even the last pizza you ordered from the national chain. little pieces of your life are recorded, quantified and analyzed. It’s a process called “Data Mining”. Data Mining is used to establish probability grids and forecasting future events based upon known factors and analyzing trends within the data.

For instance, if you own a coffee shop and you know that customer X buys an average 6 Drinks a week for the last 3 months, but now they are only consuming 1 or 2, wouldn’t you as a business owner want to know why? Maybe Customer X found a new coffee shop or has changed his patterns based upon a new job, commuting route, lifestyle change, or other event. Maybe the change co-incided with a change in staff that didn’t have the same training on making the product in the way the customer was used to.

Likewise, if you managed the local supermarket and knew that your “Club Card” members buy 1000 boxes of a toasty flakes during certain periods of the year and you are forecasting purchasing decisions for products that are perishable you would probably look at the data over time to establish trends and develop a probability scale for the sell-through of an upcoming promotion.

Similarly, health care providers, insurance companies and employers can analyze the usage of drugs to treat disease, alternate treatment options, patient recovery rates, patient satisfaction and other factors to formulate new and streamlined treatment methods, reduce or contain costs.

By anayzing trends in the data and looking at your own business model, you can determine pretty accurately what is going on and make changes to your buying patterns, advertising, promotion, training, product offering or customer service to improve the efficiency and profitability of your operations and retain a loyal customer base.

There are several basic kinds of data and for the purposes of this article we will only touch on a few - Personal, Empirical, Aggregate and Summary Data. Each has its own value both to the person that gives up the data and the person that is using the data.

The most valuable one for all parties is Personal Data. This includes information such as your name, address, credit card, ID number, email address, medical records, receipts, bills, income, expenses, spending habits and other uniquely identifiable data. Personal Data is highly prized by commercial and government eliments because it can be used to increase profitability, streamline operations, quantify habits, establish patterns and make unique predictions about individuals and how they live. With this information you can specifically market to an individual or group and offer a product or program that meets a specific need. The Criminal element loves this data too because it is rich with personally identifiable information and can be used to open fraudulent bank accounts, credit card accounts or use the data in other ways in Idenity Theft schemes.

The second type of data is Empirical Data - this is data that is gained through observation or recording of events without personal involvement of the individual in providing the data. An example of this would be sitting outside of a competitors store and counting the number of individuals entering or leaving with purchases over time or viewing other events as they occur and recording the results.

Combining Personal and/or Empirical Data in a group (or Data Set) we get Aggregate Data or Summary Data. Aggregate Data is simply ALL of the data generally segmented by individuals or groups whereas summary data is generally only a small subset or group of the data rolled-up into summarized form. Aggregate Data is used by data miners to search for specific anomolies within trends, changes in specific groups patterns, quantifying individual customer value, or other data that requires the entire data set to model against. Summary Data is generally only a small subset of the aggregate and is used for planning, simple modeling and other general research.

No matter what business you are in, it is all about the Data. Your Data. Exactly how much of this data you are willing to give is up to you, but some, if not most of it can be gleaned through empirical means and recorded or worse yet, purchased from Data Mining Companies without your expressed consent or knowledge.

Some privacy advocates decry this as an Orwellian threat, however there are some things that you can do to protect yourself and there are substanial laws already on the books and financial industry guidelines to protect individual data.

Government regulations including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and other Federal, State and Local laws regulate the secure access to ANY individually identifiable data held by Healthcare Professionals, Employers, Banks, Financial Institutions, Brokerage Houses, and just about every other type of entity that stores or uses this data. There are heavy financial penalties and JAIL time involved for breaches of these offenses (or so we are told). Yet NO ONE is holding any person or organization accountable for their rampant stupidity, ignorance of the laws and incompetence.

Visa for example has had the CISP (Cardholder Information Security Program) since June of 2001 that requires that merchants:

  • Build and Maintain a Secure Network
  • Protect Cardholder Data (Including Transmission and Storage Encryption)
  • Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program (Test their networks for intrusion)
  • Implement Strong Access Control Measures (Including Restricing Physical Access To Cardholder Data)
  • Maintain an Information Storage Policy that complies with secure storage and access to customer data.

Newer and more stringent guidelines from Visa and other card processing companies include that NO individually identifiable card numbers are left on unencrypted systems and that individually identifiable data is protected from breaches in security.

So when lost the customer and credit card information for customers that purchased through their website from 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 that was stored and left in an automobile on a laptop with a non-encrypted hard drive by an Ernst & Young employee, it was in clear violation of their agreement with Visa. It also was a clear violation of the law. At the very least the data should have been encrypted and protected by strong password security, but evidently it wasn’t.

Again, when Marriott lost the same type of data in January 2006 from customers of its time-share division, they simply gave customers a phone number and web address to “find out more information”. Worse yet, IBM lost an un-encrypted hard drive with the personal data including BANK ACCOUNT information of 180,000 of their clients. Yet no one is holding these companies accountable for serious breaches in security, lapses in judgement and just downright stupidity with regard to their stewardship of client data. Here are a few more Gems from just the last few months:

Enough Already - SECURE YOUR DATA. Secure your Customers Data. This stuff is out there, it is valuable. The devices are disposable but the data isn’t.

Today, iQBio, Inc. is announcing the latest in our secure storage series of products that incorporates AES Encryption and Fingerprint Recognition to secure Portable Data. Introducing the iQBioDrive - a 100GB external hard drive that encrypts and secures your data using your fingerprint. Read about this product and don’t take chances with your data.

Monday, June 26, 2006

SPP Could Mark the Single Greatest Threat to Our National Security

Hello there - allow me to introduce myself. I'm Joe Small Business Owner - Mr. Middle Income American Tax-Payer. Remember me?

I am not a Xenophobe nor am I under the mistaken belief that no-one but an American can build a quality product.

I believe and practice the theory that "Global Trade" should mean that everyone benefits - and that markets are open to goods from both directions. Sadly this is not the case most of the time...maybe I am a bit of a pollyanna.

This is the point in the commentary that I must tell you that I am engaged in import and export of products that cannot be competitively manufactured here in the USA because of the lack of industrial base and economic incentive to keep the manufacturing and technology here at home. As a security technology provider, we have to look to other countries to produce most of our solutions because our politicians have sold our souls and our technology to multi-national corporations and foreign governments under the mantra of "economic development".

Although, because of our ability, focus and our expertise, we even export our solutions to countries around the globe. Fortunately a growing number of our solutions will be made or at the very least assembled in the USA. We are working with our partners to grow this list of solutions daily. Thankfully we still employ a local sales force and support staff here - not in a third world sweatshop. We try to keep as much of our focus on people and their benefit, but damnit, it is getting more difficult.

I know we live in a Global Economy, with vast and furious market forces and a cross-border ebb and flow of capital that must be managed through cooperation and collaboration not simply a sell-out, especially a sell-out that has been going on quietly for the last several years in the deepest corners of our government. Welcome to the SPP - The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. - that's right .GOV! The United States Government under the guise of the Commerce Department has quietly and unilaterally without the approval of Congress or the States has instituted a program that quite simply put plans to "eliminate all borders" between the US, Canada and Mexico for the purposes of their so-called "Prosperity Agenda"

Item one on the Prosperity Agenda - Improving Productivity - Whose productivity are we actually going to enhance? The United States is already losing American Jobs by the thousands daily to our dear friends in Mexico and other third world nations because of their low wages, rampant corruption, environmental abuse and lax government regulations. Although Mexico is not a member of OPEC, Mexico has some of the world’s richest deposits of Oil and exports of petroleum account for over 10% of Mexico's export earnings, yet even with these riches, the Mexican economy is so bad that their citizens are over-running our borders looking for minimum wage jobs. With regard to productivity in Mexico, the Maquiladoras (or "export processing zones" as they are known) have been operating since 1965 all along the border with the USA. These zones produce consumer products by US Companies who pay their employees in these sweatshops as little as $6 per day for distribution to the USA under NAFTA with little regard for the environmental, personal or economic tragedy they are inflicting upon both nations. The Maquiladora allows the US Company to take advantage of low cost labor, lax regulations, brutal enforcement of its agenda and minimal oversight to cut costs which in this case means cutting their number one expense - Labor (That means PEOPLE) - yet like we're jacked up on this heroin and looking for our next fix we are injecting this crap as fast as our politicians can give it to us. These politicians are quite literally sacrificing our families, friends and neighbors on the altar of increased profits as soylent green for the corporations and placating a voting block to solidify their own lust for power.

The US Department of the Treasury's own website points out some of the chief benefits of this program by lowering costs of labor and heck, our government even gives the companies a tax break for exporting the machinery and raw materials to make the products - what a bargain! Does any rational human being believe that these multi-national corporate interests focused on the "bottom line" will improve people’s lives or improve productivity at the expense of investment in PEOPLE, PLANET and PROSPERITY? This gift to the corporations is simply a shell game to hide their greed and cloud our vision. Move the shell again, we got a glimpse of where the pea is hidden. You remember the mammoth American companies like Bethlehem Steel and others that used to have high paying manufacturing and engineering jobs for folks here at home? - Well, they don't exist anymore or at the very least are on life support. Most of these companies have a DNR order faxed in from their Bermuda, BVI or Cayman Headquarters.

These high skilled and high wage jobs are "outsourced" to the Maquiladoras dotted along the southern US border just far enough inside Mexico to avoid US Law. These factories are usually run by the US Company in concert with a Mexican contract partner that actually manages the factory. This way the US Company can feign ignorance when their "partner" beats an employee or violates a minor safety protocol that kills or injures a worker. Some of these partners are brutal or even criminal in the way they treat their employees, the environmental negligence that is creating "a virtual cesspool and breeding ground for infectious disease" that lines our national border to the south and an society rife with corruption, influence peddling, intimidation and yes, even murder.

Let's look at their second objective - to reduce the cost of trade through the "Efficient movement of goods and people". I doubt anyone would deny that the US/Mexico border already is anything less than extremely efficient at moving people and goods, especially when it comes to traffic in illegal aliens, drugs, fake gucci's or other contraband. Now the US Government is quietly implementing "six FAST/Express lanes at the US-Mexico border, a new lane in Nogales, and (they) are working on a project for a lane in Matamoros" to move these people and products faster into the USA without any serious regard for national security, legality or social morality. While the working people of our country are clamoring for the government to put up a fence and patrol the border to protect our national soverignty, our government is going behind our back and putting in a super highway as wide as two football fields from Mexico to Canada to expedite the invasion.

And for the final objective of the program - this is laughable - to "Enhance the quality of life". If working at W__Mart for minimum wage, 31.5 hours per week without paid benefits, buying cheap, foreign made consumer goods is your idea of an enhanced life - brother, you got your dream come true! Always at a low price and high cost - Siempre! The focus of this program is to provide quick access to the US market for cheap labor imports that compete directly with goods made in this country and to make it easier for the US to rationalize illegal immigration through the "strengthening (of) the integrity and security of asylum and refugee status" from Mexico ... or maybe they were talking about the refugees from Canada?

Which reminds me - Even when we get done with a very menial examination of our Mexican partner, we haven't even looked at our rock solid ally to the north - Canada. Canadian government policy is directly responsible for lax immigration that allowed Ahmed Ressam to come to our shores to try to blow up LAX in 2000 and many other breeding grounds for terror. Canada is the preferred destination of those wanting to set up a terror cell. For an interesting read about these policies and effects within our neighbor to the north, a country that exports more than just Celine Dion, Hockey and Maple Syrup, read this report from the investigation arm of Congress. And please, please don’t let us forget the Language police, Merci.

This SPP program is bad for business, bad for Americans, bad for our national identity, bad for our national security and bad policy for BOTH of our neighbors - except the VERY wealthy and of course the politicians that have again divided us and solidified their voting block for the next National Election. But hey, we junkies did just get a new syringe.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

VA To Recall All Laptops After Data Breach

VA To Recall All Laptops After Data Breach In TechWeb: Security

By Gregg Keizer, TechWeb News

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Thursday told Congress that his agency will take a number of security-related measures, including recalling every laptop in its inventory, to make sure the loss of 26.5 million veteran and active-duty personnel isn't repeated.

In testimony before the House Government Reform Committee Thursday, James Nicholson said that during the week of June 26, all laptops will be returned to the VA for a security review. Additionally, no personal laptops or desktops will be allowed to access the agency's network via VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections.

"VPN settings will be changed every 30 days, forcing laptop users to return the laptop to VA for updating and security screening," Nicholson said in his prepared statement read to the committee. That same week every VA facility -- in Nicholson's words, "every hospital, CBOC, regional office, national cemetery, field office, and VA's Central Office -- will close in a "stand-down" he called "Security Awareness Week." During the week, VA managers and supervisors will "review information security and reinforce privacy obligations and responsibilities with their staff," he added.

The various initiatives are in reaction to the May 3 burglary of a VA data analyst's home in which a laptop and external hard drive containing 26.5 million identities were stolen. Since then, Congress has held several hearings on the data breach, and new information -- including the fact that 80 percent of active-duty military members' data was among that stolen -- has come to light. Nicholson has also done some personnel housecleaning. The data analyst's supervisor, for instance, has stepped down, while another high-level official in the agency has been placed on administrative leave.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Patriots, Heroes and Friends

Posted by James Childers -

Mr. President, Members of Congress, State and Local Officials - This is an open letter from WE THE PEOPLE. You remember us right?

WE THE PEOPLE draw your attention to the PRIVILEGE you have of serving as OUR representatives by OUR commission through the electoral process and the VALUE of the trust we place in you. We request from you only clarity, vigilance and prudence of purpose, thought and action with the discharge of your duties and the care and safe keeping of our treasured National Identity.

When did it become "Fashionable" to reject the notion of defending American Values?

When did we become negligent in standing together for what is RIGHT - When did we abdicate our responsibilities to do what is merely EXPEDIENT?

The following passage comes directly from the Virginia Bill of Rights - The first statement of rights and "American Values" on our new continent - These are the Ethos of our Community:

"That no free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our CREATOR, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity,towards each other."

When we are willing to embrace diversity - we require the inclusion of "American Values" as allotment within the aggregate. Our practice of "Christian forbearance, love and charity towards one another is materially deficient of late.

WE THE PEOPLE are ashamed of the neglect, debasement, denigration and disregard for our fundamental values, rights, freedoms and the misappropriation of OUR money with which we entrust to you. We accredit you, OUR representatives in OUR government, with defending OUR freedoms, liberties and rights and the fundamental values that we hold dear.

These fundamental principles of "American Values" are:

  • Freedom of Speech, Religion and Movement without undue burden from Government for all Americans.
  • The ABSOLUTE RIGHT of Liberty in Thought and Deed within the Laws of God and Country.
  • The RIGHT to acquire property through the sweat of our labor and the promotion of commerce and the ability to freely transfer property at will.
  • The RIGHT to have our tax dollars entrusted to you spent with frugality, austerity and for purposes with which we as a Nation consent.
  • The SECURITY of a National Border and the necessity of impenetrable borders to our National Identity.
  • We have founded a Nation founded upon the principle of rule of law. It is fundamental to our existence. We expect that ALL individuals are bound by this principle equally and none is above it.
  • We are a Nation of diverse cultures bound together in a single community through the embodiment within our National Identity belief in the inviolable rights listed above to which we commission you with defense.

With regard to the current issues before us of the porous nature of our borders, amnesty for individuals in violation of State and Federal laws, and the expense from the treasury in promotion of these illegitimate activities.

WE THE PEOPLE ask that you secure our borders from further breach by those who wish to defy the Federal Immigration or other laws.

WE THE PEOPLE believe that the disbursement of our tax dollars to promote violations of the current laws including the hiring of those residing in this country illegally, the dispensing of government services to these individuals or direct payments to these criminals by the
treasury is in violation of the principles of the proper execution of your duties and a violation of our trust.

WE THE PEOPLE firmly believe in just, adequate and proper immigration and full naturalization for all who willingly seek to come and abide within and contribute to our community. We understand that FREEDOM, LIBERTY, and EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW are principles that all men and women of the world desire for themselves and their posterity. We ask that you are prudent in your actions to promote policies and enact laws that protect OUR rights while we as a nation endeavor to reach out to those seeking to embrace the light of liberty for themselves and include them within our community.

WE THE PEOPLE request that our community is protected from those that seek to destroy or denigrate our laws, values and culture.

WE THE PEOPLE are a nation with a great diversity of colors woven into the fabric of our tapestry. These banners are not mere decoration, but are the standard that define us and bind us together as a community. God has used many different canvases, colors and variations in our physical adornments in the creation of our races. But this is not what defines us. We are not White, Brown, Black, or Yellow, nor are we Hispanic-American, Anglo-American, African-American, Indian-American, or any other hyphenated definition of identity which seeks to divide us.

We are AMERICAN. We are ONE people. We are ONE Chorus with many voices.

Our Chorus sings of Liberty, resonates with Freedom and cries out for Justice tempered with Equality, Vision and Forbearance.

You have within the duties with which you are empowered by US to further the purpose of our community. You also have it within your power, should you choose to do so, to neglect your duty, to breach your solemn oath to protect these virtues, and to show contempt for our values. We simply request that you choose to SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.

This is your charter. This is your oath. This is your duty.

We ask that you simply follow through with your promise.


A Hopeful and Auspicious Nation.

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How Secure is Your Portable Data?

How Secure is Your Portable Data? The BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro Fingerprint Biometric Flash Drive Secures Portable Data With a Touch of Your Fingerprint

Download this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

Artemis Solutions Group announced today the immediate availability of their latest innovative product under the BioCert® product line – the BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro 1GB Secure Fingerprint Flash Drive.

Freeland, WA (PRWEB) May 26, 2006 -- Artemis Solutions Group announced today the immediate availability of their latest innovative product under the BioCert® product line – the BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro 1GB Secure Fingerprint Flash Drive.

The BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro 1GB biometric flash drive provides consumers with the latest in biometric technology to secure data, while allowing the user to securely control access to their private data with a touch of their fingerprint. The previous version of the ClipBio was featured in Forbes Magazine article "How to Travel Like a Billionaire – 2006" at a price of $229.95.

The newly redesigned ClipBio Pro with 1GB of storage is attractively priced at nearly half the price of the previous model – now only $129.95 through the companies website at

The most conservative estimates by Gartner® Dataquest puts the total unit volumes of USB Flash drives sold in 2005 at 84 Million pieces. But out of those sold how many are truly secure?

Developed in conjunction with Symwave® using their BioPrint® swipe fingerprint technology, the BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro 1GB Flash Drive uses advanced encryption methods and a secure biometric algorithm to authorize users access to their data on a secure partition on the ClipBio Pro.

Secured using AES 128 bit encryption, the secure partition of the BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro 1GB is only accessible when an authorized user swipes their fingerprint over the BioPrint® Sensor through the included Odyssey™ software.

On May 22nd, a story that shocked the nation was released to the press from the United States Department of Defense involving a Veterans Affairs employee having the personal data including the names, addresses medical conditions, and Social Security numbers of 26.5 Million US Veterans stolen from an unsecured disk located at his home.

Even though the Veterans Affairs Secretary, Jim Nicholson said there was no evidence that the data has been used for identity theft purposes, the fact that the data was in the hands of someone other than an authorized individual is a substantial breach of security and public trust. With personal identity theft representing a burgeoning problem throughout the US, this type of information being readily available represents a substantial risk to individuals, business, banking and eCommerce.

“Our BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro 1GB Flash Drive is designed to allow only authorized individuals to have access to your encrypted data stored on the secure partition. Customers have to authenticate their identity with a swipe of their fingerprint on the sensor. The ClipBio Pro is automatically recognized by PCs running the Windows XP operating system and the secure partition is only visible once the user is authenticated.

There are quite literally millions of these USB flash disks in circulation right now with all kinds of personal data on them including credit card numbers, credit reports, birth certificates, financial documents, tax returns and other readily identifiable personal data that could be used in identity theft.

Even though Government Employees are highlighted in the latest confidential information release scandal, business owners and executives don't fare much better with the protection of their "secure data". As an example, at many trade shows and conferences, industrial espionage is a legitimate concern as thieves are always looking to pick up a random BlackBerry, Cell Phone or unattended flash drive of an attending executive to gain competitive intelligence or confidential information.

The BioCert ClipBio and the new to be released iQBioDrive™ thwarts the would-be thieves and secures this confidential data with biometric security” states James Childers – CEO of Artemis Solutions Group (iQBio, Inc.)

Produced in conjunction with Symwave Corporation of San Diego California, the BioCert ClipBio Pro is powered by the Symwave BioPrint SW6888 swipe fingerprint IC.

"With increasing incidents of data theft, the need to secure portable devices is becoming increasingly important. We are excited to enable Artemis Solutions Group with our BioPrint fingerprint swipe sensor technology that provides both Security and Convenience to users ofportable devices" says Jack Bell VP of Sales and Marketing at Symwave, Inc..

The BioCert ClipBio Pro is the first product from iQBio, Inc. to incorporate this sensor. iQBio, Inc. is currently in the process of developing a broad range of hardware and software products built around the SW6888 swipe sensor from Symwave including a 100GB iQBioDrive™ Secure Portable Storage™ Drive, desktop fingerprint sensor, integrated keyboard and optical mouse for PC Login, drive, file and folder encryption and single sign on (SSO) password capabilities for applications and websites. These products already in development and testing phases are expected to be released late Q2 or early Q3 2006.

In addition to the standard encryption and private directory software, the BioCert ClipBio Pro comes pre-bundled with a 30 day trial version of iQBioSync™ software developed in conjunction with Dmailer, Inc. iQBioSync allows the user to synchronize their information between PC's including documents, email and browser favorites. This software also allows a user to take their ClipBio Pro to any PC and use it as their own, with their data and email, even being able to send and receive email from a PC that does not have Microsoft Outlook Installed. A full version of the iQBioSync software can be purchased for $29.95.

The ClipBio Pro also includes a suite of open source portable applications including FireFox web browser, Thunderbird email client, OpenOffice Software Suite and ClamWin Antivirus. This suite of applications let any person take their ClipBio Pro to ANY PC with Windows XP loaded and run these applications directly from their flash drive leaving no trace of their application on the host PC. These products are distributed under the GNU open source license agreement. The iQBioSync software bundled with the Portable Application Suite allows any ClipBio Pro owner to open, save, share, store and email Microsoft Office fully compatible documents, pictures, spreadsheets, databases and other files directly from their ClipBio Pro. The complete BioCert ClipBio Pr solution offers a unparalleled combination of software portability and security – all with a swipe of your finger.

Functional, Stylish and Secure, The BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro is one of the most secure, innovative and advanced Personal Secure Portable Storage™ devices on the market. This plug-and-play Secure Portable Storage device may just become the most used accessory you own. Imagine, taking your files with you in an encrypted memory key that can only be opened with your fingerprint. At a value price point of $129.95 , the ClipBio Pro is perfect for Executives, Students, Business Owners, Bankers, Lawyers, Doctors and just about everyone else with a finger.

The BioCert® ClipBio™ Pro from Artemis Solutions Group is about to change the way you secure and travel with information. More information can be found on the web at

About Artemis Solutions Group & iQBio, Inc. ( - ASG ( is a closely held, private security firm specializing in fingerprint biometric and smart card security solutions. With offices in the US, EU, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom, ASG sells directly and through its global network of resellers and system integrators best of breed biometric and smart card security systems to small & medium business and local government agencies throughout the world. ASG’s related company iQBio is tasked with design, supplier relations, manufacture and OEM manufacturing oversight and global sourcing, distribution and logistics of its solutions.

ASG markets a range of computer, software and consumer products under its properly registered and owned trademark BioCert® and BioSaf® through a network of domestic and international resellers and extensively on the Internet through their owned and operated websites.

About Symwave ( - Symwave was founded in February 2001 by a team of leading analog/mixed signal IC design engineers. The BioPrint™ SW6888 swipe-type fingerprint IC solution is designed to provide fingerprint authentication and mouse-pad navigation functionality in power-sensitive and small form-factor application environments, such as mobile handsets, PDAs, laptop computers and direct-attached storage devices. The SW6888 combines proprietary sensing technology with ruggedized, small form factor design and leading-edge software, providing customers with a full fingerprint identification solution. The SW6888 swipe sensor was designed to be the most accurate, easily integrated, cost-effective fingerprint solution available for computing, consumer electronics and mobile devices.

About Dmailer ( - Located on the French Riviera and created in 2001, DMAILER is a privately held development and technology licensing company specialized in portable BACKUP & SYNCHRONIZATION software solutions for all sort of mobile devices (USB flash drives, Hard Disk drives, SD cards, mp3 players, iPods etc.). Our Mission is to provide the most innovative and best-in-class portable BACKUP & SYNCHRONIZATION software solutions for mobile device owners. We intend to be the leader in added value software for USB flash drives and mp3 players.

BioCert® and BioSaf® are registered trademarks of Artemis Solutions Group. iQBio™, iQBioSafe™, iQBioSync™, iQBioDrive™, Secure Portable Storage™ Odyssey™ Software and ClipBio™ are trademarks of Artemis Solutions Group. Symwave® and BioPrint® are registered trademarks of Symwave Inc.. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners and companies.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Personal Data of Millions of US Veterans Stolen?

If anyone is even remotely thinking that government systems are secure from leaks of personal data - read this.

As reported today by the Associated Press, the Personal information on 26.5 million U.S. veterans was stolen from an employee who "took the data home without authorization".

Read about it on Yahoo News

What the hell is an EMPLOYEE of the Department of Defense doing taking home the personal information of 26.5 MILLION people? I thought there were laws in this country to prevent this type of mishandling of information.

Evidently this EMPLOYEE working for the Department of Veterans Affairs felt it necessary to take home several GIGS of data from his government workstation. Why was this information even available to this employee to download?

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that "we have no reason to believe at this time" that the data has been exploited for identity theft." - Why the hell would an employee take 26.5 MILLION records home? Does anyone realize that this represents over 10% of the ENTIRE US POPULATION. Isn't this theft of public property? Why is the FBI sitting on their hands? The government states they are going to send a letter to each person affected by this incident - 26 MILLION?

Lawmakers are "outraged", the unnamed and uncharged "employee" has been placed on Administrative Leave "pending the outcome of an investigation" (which we will hear nothing about). This action violates the HIPAA regulation regarding patient medical records where there is JAIL time involved for a civilian doing such a thing at a hospital - Blog this !

Not only is this frightening revelation a wake-up-call to Vets, but every American should be outraged. Every single American citizen's data is on some government server somewhere just waiting for some lowbrow to plug in a portable hard drive and download hundreds of gigs of information - to use for whatever purpose they desire.

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