Letters to the editor – September 20th, 2017

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2017

ID breach is serious

Editor, Smithfield Times
Last week the world found out that Equifax, one of the three large credit reporting agencies, had been hacked and 143 million U.S. consumers’ personally identifiable information stolen. The information stolen includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, an undisclosed number of driver’s license numbers and about 209,000 credit cards among other documents. In short, this is really bad.
Equifax’s response has quickly turned into a dumpster fire. The website for checking whether you have been affected crashed repeatedly, gave cryptic answers most of the time, and at other times gave clearly incorrect information. With almost half the U.S. population exposed to the breach, anyone with a credit record should assume they have been breached and act accordingly. Equifax has offered one year of free credit monitoring through them. Putting aside trust issues, one year is entirely too short, because your risk for identity theft has permanently increased.
We have since found out that Equifax sat on knowledge of the hack for six weeks. During that time at least three executives sold somewhere in the range of $2 million worth of stocks in the company. The actual breach appears to have been caused by a patchable bug and inadequate security layering. Breaches happen and perfect security is impossible. That is not an excuse for poor security. It is however why the response in the aftermath of a hack is so important. Equifax should be held accountable for its carelessness.
As a final note, SSNs are entirely inadequate as an ID. We need to have a serious look at identification in America. If as Americans, we are opposed to the concept of a national ID, then we should come up with a secure alternative, rather than using SSNs as a stopgap ID.
Daniel Tate

Block those calls

Editor, Smithfield times For those who have their landline phone service provided by Spectrum (Charter), they have recently enabled a service, which provides robocall/telemarketer blocking. It is free and requires only minutes to set up. We were getting about 30 calls a day, and now, we get 1 or 2. If our phone only rings once, we know it was a telemarketer. Go to spectrum.net, and in the search area, input “nomorobo”, and click on the first link.
For mobile phone users, there are equivalent apps out there, which will determine if an incoming call is from a known telemarketer, in which case, it just hangs up. Go to the App Store or Play Store and search for “call blocker.”
You’re welcome!
Bob Kelly

Constitution Week

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Editor, Smithfield Times
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  This is Constitution Week, and the members of Colonel William Allen Chapter, NSDAR urge each and every reader of The Smithfield Times to read our Constitution and its amendments. So much has been forgotten about this document, which gives us the freedom we take for granted. Read and Learn, Folks, lest we all forget to the point we lose these precious rights!
The Virginia DAR is actively supporting the Center for the Study of the Constitution at Montpelier, which is an asset available to all, especially those in law enforcement and the legal field to learn more about what is contained in this wonderful document. Classes are available for those interested. The DAR urges everyone to become more aware of our Constitution, to know its contents and to protect our rights provided by it.
Patricia Hall
Col. Wm. Allen Chapter NSDAR

Thank you, blood donors

Editor, Smithfield Times
This is a huge “thank you” to the people of Smithfield and Isle of Wight County for another amazing Smithfield Community Blood Drive this past Thursday, Sept. 14. With over 95 sign ins, this was one of the strongest showings for September in several years. We were able to net 87 units and surpass the Red Cross goal for the second consecutive drive. Give yourself a hand, Smithfield!
We would like to extend a large round of thanks to the United Methodist Women of Trinity for their delicious and tireless Canteen Sponsorship on behalf of our donors. As always, we thank Trinity United Methodist church for the use of their facilities and Smithfield Union Masonic Lodge #18 for setting up and taking down tables and chairs. All of the “elves” who help make this happen, from flyers around town, Facebook shares and street signs are rock stars helping to save lives. We see you and your handiwork. We appreciate you!
Next up will be our Nov. 9 drive, generously sponsored by Elaine and Jim Abicht and The Christmas Store. Our Canteen Sponsor will be the Johnny Barlow Sunday School Class of Smithfield Baptist Church.
Blood to save lives is needed every 2 seconds in the United States and our own Mid-Atlantic Region uses over 700 units a day. Every unit of blood given will save three lives. Thank you to all our heroes who make our community proud by taking the time out of their day to donate the Gift of Life.
Leigh Abbott-Leaman