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Recent breaches have prompted congressional hearings and a slew of media coverage, but what’s in a word? After a breach, those affected are often referred to as customers, consumers or in one case, “guests.” Maine Identity Services Founder Jane Carpenter asks when victims of “a violation of the criminal codes of most states and the federal government” became “consumers?” In this installment for Privacy Perspectives, Carpenter looks into the etymology of those affected by identity theft and how a one-word change can make a big difference. “Hearing someone refer to ‘consumers’ when talking about identity theft or data breaches,” she writes, “is as jarring and anachronistic as watching an old movie and seeing someone pull out a cell phone.”
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