A lost laptop, a $54 million lawsuit

It shouldn’t take a $54 million lawsuit to motivate Best Buy to address these issues,” she said. Her initial offer to settle for $2,100 has been withdrawn because her expenses have risen, including time spent filing a police report and consulting with lawyers about her case, she said. Concerns about identity theft also add to her potential damages, she said.

[From A lost laptop, a $54 million lawsuit: part 2 - The Red Tape Chronicles - MSNBC.com]

When I first read this story I thought it was about some crackpot, but after reading the whole story and empathizing with plaintiff based on my experience with Best Buy, I think there is a very serious issue here that goes beyond retail dumbfuckery and into the very real issue of identity theft.

The odds are that her lost laptop won’t be used for illicit purposes but that doesn’t, and should not, excuse Best Buy from both adhering to the letter and spirit of the notification laws. If state and local governments won’t take the issue of their own laws seriously then consumers are left with the only option remaining, civil court.

If this was about some corner liquor store selling cigarettes to a 16 year old, the SWAT team would be busting down the door but because identity theft is viewed as one of those “what can we do about it” issues, quite often hands are thrown up. The local Abercrombie and Fitch gets more legal attention than Best Buy ever will.

More often than not, what is really happening here is that toothless laws are passed in a legislative game of three card monty – look over here so you don’t see what I’m not doing over here – and simply not enforced. If it’s a bank, also known as “predatory lender”, then the bandwagon is full of newly minted law-and-order types, but Best Buy won’t get your local DA on CNBC so why bother.

I don’t think that the plaintiff will win anything close to the amount claimed, but that does not appear to be her intention from the get go. I do think that Best Buy and others should be held accountable for their lax attention to data security on behalf of their customers but any legal award will ultimately come out of the pockets of consumers.

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Artist Profile – Michael Cullen

A new feature, quick profiles on artists I like.

Michael Cullen is an artist and woodworker, and what I really like about his pieces are that they are functional and exquisitely ornamented with hand carved patterns. The carvings on the casework are simply put, extraordinary.

The other aspect of his work that I like is that he uses milk paint, which is an age old paint formulation made literally from milk (protein), lime, and pigments. It really quite a remarkable finish insofar as the range of effects you can create. It’s also very durable and I’ve seen pieces from the 1700′s with original milk paint finishes that still look good. BTW, milk paint is an excellent finish for children’s furniture and toys because it is non-toxic (the lime is alkaline but when combined with the slightly acidic milk protein it neutralizes).

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