Governor, you have become a political icon for "right thinking" Americans, but when it comes to data security, your administration has to think smart and do what is right. Data like citizens' names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers, functions like keys to the locks of the economy, opening doors to bank accounts, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, personal loans and all sorts of medical and criminal exposure. Sending that data through the mail, effectively embossed on the front of envelopes, or releasing it into cyberspace for all the world to see is like giving a drunk the keys to your Chevy and wishing them a safe trip home.
Finally, sir, I have a proposition. Because Wisconsin agencies have demonstrated a disturbing penchant for "billboarding" the PII of your citizenry several times over the past few years, it seems that it's time for you to get some help. There are plenty of companies out there that can help you evaluate the integrity of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue's security protocols and help you develop and implement a data breach preparedness and response program.
Full disclosure, I own a company that does this kind of work and I'd be willing to give you two weeks of consulting for free just to get you moving on this. However, even if you choose to decline my offer, I urge you to retain a qualified organization to thoroughly investigate the security systems and protocols in place throughout your government agencies. The citizens of Wisconsin deserve no less.
Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.