A judge who ruled Christians must pay for abortions and Hillary Clinton was exempt from a wrongful-death claim on behalf of victims of the Benghazi attack has told millions of Americans the government can let hackers gain access to their personal information without consequence.
The decision in several lawsuits over the 2015 hack of personal information of some 22 million federal employees and family members from the Office of Personnel Management comes from federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C.
She dismissed a consolidated case that wrapped up numerous individual lawsuits charging the loss of personal information, as well as a separate claim from the National Treasury Employees Union “for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on both standing and sovereign immunity grounds.”
“Before a court may proceed to the merits of any claim, the plaintiffs must demonstrate that they have constitutional ‘standing’ to sue,” she wrote. “Also, a court may not entertain an action against the United States if the government has not expressly waived its sovereign immunity.”
She found that the “cyberattack against the United States” compromised the records and personal data of 22 million people, but they have no recourse.
“It may well be that the Supreme Court or the D.C. Circuit will someday announce that given the potential for harm inherent in any cyberattack, breach victims automatically have standing even if the harm has yet to materialize, and even if the purpose behind the breach and the nature of any future harm have yet to be discerned.
“But that has not happened yet.”
“Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality” chronicles how America has arrived at the point of being a de facto police state, and what led to an out-of-control government that increasingly ignores the Constitution. Order today!
EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, explained that it long has argued data-breach victims should not wait until they suffer identity theft to sue the parties that failed to protect their data. The organization said it has suggested changes to the federal Privacy Act to address the current issues.
EPIC said the theft was “one of the worst data breaches in U.S. history.”
At a congressional hearing, the director of the OPM, essentially the human resources department for the entire federal government, refused to reveal the numbers of people affected.
The federal agency had reported initially that some 4.2 million federal workers had their personal information compromised, possibly stolen by the Chinese government.
Reuters reported agency chief Katherine Archuleta described two breaches on her watch at OPM. One stole the details of about 4.2 million current and former workers. Details of the second breach that penetrated the background check system, which contains extremely sensitive data, weren’t immediately disclosed.
Just a day earlier, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described her responses as “world-class buck-passing.”
WND reported the concern that China could have Social Security numbers, personal financial data and other sensitive information.
Several national security experts have told WND that China could use the data for its own purposes or sell it to the highest bidder purely for profit, including an enemy of the United States.
A short time later, WND reported that Archuleta was out at the agency.
Experts at the time warned that the data breach could hurt America.
“Absolutely,” Paul Stephens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse told WND in an interview then.
It could happen without the nation even being aware.
“What I think makes this very unique compared to other data breaches is the inclusion of these government security clearance forms,” he said. “That’s the Standard Form 86. That form is 127 pages. You can imagine the amount of information.”
Further, those details are not only about the applicant, he said.
“There also is information about individuals [with whom] that applicant has come into contact,” he said. “References? There’s tremendous amounts of information.”
Stephens’ organization is a nonprofit that works to educate and empower individuals about their privacy. The group works to raise consumers’ awareness of how technology affects privacy, to let them take control of their own information and to advocate for their private rights in a variety of settings.
He was responding to WND questions about the data breach at OPM, which included credit histories, medical information and details of misbehavior.
The danger, he said, is that people may not even know that their hidden secret suddenly has become an Internet sensation for enemies of the United States. They then suddenly find themselves faced with public disclosure. And it could happen any time, even 30 years from now.
“That is the problem with data breaches,” he said. “You can’t get it back. It’s out there forever.”
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William “Jerry” Boykin, now executive vice president of the Family Research Council, said the prospect of military or civilian leaders having their personal information sold to terrorists must be taken seriously.
“First of all, you have to ask yourself what could an individual citizen in America do with your personally identifiable information?” Boykin told WND. “Stolen identities are big business and very problematic, and the Chinese could use that for the same thing a criminal would. Don’t kid yourself.”
He said China could steal the IDs from the OPM database and then sell them to Iran, ISIS or an other foreign enemy.
“Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality” chronicles how America has arrived at the point of being a de facto police state and what led to an out-of-control government that increasingly ignores the Constitution. Order today!