LifeLock, the so-called identity-theft "protection" company based in Tempe we wrote about last week, called us in a tizzy yesterday -- worried about the accidental publication of one its employees' personal data.
This is the type of situation LifeLock would never put in a press release, but we're more than happy to relate the ironic tale. It seems to be yet another example of the Tempe company's ineffective protection service.
You see, LifeLock's current ad slogan is "Real Protection. Real Peace of Mind." Yet when LifeLock discovered that tech-savvy New Times readers could hack a PDF document created by the Chandler Police Department, its own peace of mind was shaken.
In our humble opinion, that's because the company knows damned well it doesn't provide "real protection" against identity crimes.
New Times didn't plan this.
When we published "Cracking LifeLock" on May 13, we gave readers an upload link to a police report that detailed the many fraudulent accounts opened in the name of LifeLock CEO Todd Davis.
Remember, he's the guy who broadcast his Social Security Number in ads to show confidence that his identity couldn't be stolen.
The article revealed that, based on the police report, Davis appeared to be the victim of identity theft at least 13 times, which was 12 more times than previously known. (By the way, the comprensive article contains more interesting stuff about LifeLock than just the news about Davis' problems as an identity-theft victim. Don't forget to read past the first chapter!)
The Chandler police report, in PDF format, turned out to be more revealing than we had realized:
The document could be "hacked" in a way that exposes information in the report that the Chandler PD had tried to black out. Copying the PDF document and pasting into a Microsoft Word document allowed all the redacted information to magically appear.
It's hard to care about Todd Davis' personal data being published -- after all, his company has paid millions to publish his SSN in advertisements.
But the report also contained personal data for one of LifeLock's customer representatives, Tamika Jones, who had called the Chandler PD in 2008 and 2009 to report her boss' identity-theft woes.
Yesterday, Christy O'Connor of LifeLock called New Times and asked us to remove the link to the PDF document.
The smart-ass in us couldn't resist giving O'Connor, LifeLock's associate general counsel, some grief.
"Why does it matter?" we asked. "You're LifeLock."
"Agreed," O'Connor said. "But in some instances..." She trailed off, apparently unable to state the obvious -- that in some instances, (most, as far as we're concerned) LifeLock doesn't protect from squat.
O'Connor pointed out that while Davis chose to reveal his Social Security Number to the world, Jones didn't.
"She seems like an innocent victim to me," O'Connor said.
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After considering LifeLock's request, we've decided to republish the PDF document in "Cracking LifeLock" as Chandler police had intended -- with the personal data blacked out.
Davis didn't call us himself about this, which we think is a shame. He's still dodging the tough questions raised in our article.
But we won't hold that against Tamika Jones. Since LifeLock can't protect her, New Times will. And we'll even waive the $10-a-month charge.