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When You Care Enough to Spy on the Very Best: NSA Greeting Card Program is First Step in Rebranding Campaign

Written by Jake Romero

If you’ve had a birthday in the past two weeks, you may have received a greeting card from an unlikely source; the National Security Agency.  Following President Obama’s call for large-scale reform of the NSA, the agency has initiated a rebranding campaign in the hopes of winning back the trust and favor of the American public.  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged early Tuesday morning that birthday cards have been mailed to approximately 11 million Americans over the past few weeks; based largely on information collected from telecommunications companies and major mobile application developers.  Carney also added that there are plans to expand the program.  “The reality is that, as everyone knows, the NSA has the information and is therefore in a position to be of great assistance to the average American,” Carney said. With that in mind, the NSA is currently testing an expansion of the program that would offer text message or email reminders of spouse birthdays, anniversaries and major upcoming events at the school where an individual’s child is registered.

The cards are simple and casual in tone, with messages such as “We hope you’re having a great birthday here in America!” and each is signed anonymously by a member of the agency.  They are also, however, a sobering reminder of the lengths to which an agency or corporate entity may need to go to repair its reputation following unwanted sharing or disclosure of personal information.  A recent Harris Poll found that blame and distrust following a data breach can be wide-spread, but is largely focused on retailers.  The poll’s findings suggest that ultimately the negative consequences for a data security incident will be felt largely by the entity with which the individual consumer has the closest relationship.  There is no time like the present to ensure that your security measures for protecting the information of your customers is up-to-date.

A picture of the card received by one of our colleagues can be found here.

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Cynthia J. Larose

Member / Co-Chair, Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice

Cynthia J. Larose is Chair of the firm's Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, a Certified Information Privacy Professional-US (CIPP-US), and a Certified Information Privacy Professional-Europe (CIPP-E). She works with clients in various industries to develop comprehensive information security programs on the front end, and provides timely counsel when it becomes necessary to respond to a data breach.