Hauling Data Goes High-Tech

After our recent discussions of the security of ports, containerized cargoes, and cross-border truckers, I was interested to read about another clever use of sensors and telemetry: to keep track of financial data as it's transported.

A Growing Need?
To a certain extent, keeping track of containerized cargoes and adding sensor-enhanced systems to spot evil doers early is a no-brainer. There aren't enough well-trained security personnel in the world to watch all the stuff that moves into and around this country so supplementing the people with complementary sensor-based technologies makes sense. While the rationale for much of this technology development and adoption is to increase our safety and security, my guess is that it's also useful for thwarting criminal activity.

Do You Know Where Your Back Ups Are?
In our modern world, information is increasingly portable and this is both a blessing (online banking, for instance) and a curse (the rising incidence of identity theft). Companies and our government spend a lot of time and money acquiring and managing data about everything from our health to our shopping habits. Keeping it safe isn't just a matter of computer and network security techniques-it's also about keeping the backup tapes and other such data storage safe. This is not a trivial problem, since Bank of America, CitiFinancial, City National Bank and LaSalle Bank have all managed to lose sensitive financial data in the last year.

A recent Information Week article discusses a new service for companies who need to keep track of customer data in transit. Basically, Eagle Global Logistics uses an asset tracking system combining sensors, GPS, and a ZigBee-based wireless network to continually monitor where shipments of sensitive data are and notify the company as soon as there appear to be problems. Truck slows down? It's reported. Doors are opened? It's reported. Truck driver's getting over enthusiastic with the accelerator? It's reported.

Will we ever see data theft become a thing of the past? I very much doubt it. Rather, I expect that as the systems to protect data become more sophisticated, criminals will shift their focus from fooling the systems to fooling the people with access to the systems.

(Rather than end on this rather depressing note, I give you Kitten War to relieve your depression with cuteness.)

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