Liberty Screening Braces for Hurricane Ike

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike, measuring nearly 500 miles across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico is predicted to make landfall directly on the island of Galveston, only 40 miles south of Houston, TX, the headquarters for Liberty Screening Services.

There is a palpable buzz in the city of Houston right now. Citizens are gearing up for what could possibly be the largest storm the city has seen since 1900 when the entire island of Galveston was left devastated and 8,000 people lost their lives. Mandatory evacuations of low-lying and coastal regions across the gulf coast are in effect, with residents on higher ground being encouraged to shelter where they are.

Liberty Screening Services is located in the heart of the projected path of the storm. The map image below shows the path as projected by the National Hurricane Advisory, putting it across the highway from Liberty Screening with projected wind speeds of 100+ miles per hour:

So, what is Liberty doing to prepare for the storm? Business as usual! Our service depends on electricity, and right now, the high winds pose the biggest threat to our servers. Liberty is gearing up for a switch to our emergency servers located far out the reach of Hurricane Ike so that in the very likely event that the Houston office loses power, our customers won't. Preparations are being made for key employees to gather and post records, our biggest effort is to keep our customers hiring in the timely manner they've come to expect from Liberty.

The energy generated by Hurricane Ike in the citizens of the Gulf regions of Texas is incredible. Living and working in a city of 5 million people making preparations for a major storm is unreal as gas stations and grocery stores slowly run out of products. However, after the disasters of hurricane's Katrina and the non-threat (to Houston) that was Rita, the city is much more prepared to handle the storm, just as Liberty is.


Insider Posts Personally Identifiable Information and Threatens Lives

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hired in August of 2001, Mr. Steven William Sutcliffe refused to provide the HR Department of Global Crossing Development Company with his Social Security Number. A criminal background search later revealed he failed to disclose his criminal records as well. Mr. Sutcliffe was terminated immediately.

Upon termination, Mr. Sutcliffe began picketing Global Crossing carrying a sign bearing the address of a website he launched against the company. “On this website, Defendant displayed Global Crossing employees’ personal information, including payroll information, social security numbers, birth dates, and residential addresses, with some of this information hyperlinked to an article about identity theft.”

On that website, Sutcliffe posted over 1000 of his former co-workers Personally Identifiable Information (PII) including payroll information, home residences, and social security numbers with links to identify theft information sites. When served with a restraining order, Sutcliffe posted threats against the agent who served him, “Our paths are now crossed and we are forever joined . . . to deal with that I am going to make you a one time offer. If I never see or hear from or of you again, I will forget you . . . . However, if I do ever hear your name mentioned against me ever again I will personally add you to my domain list. I think you understand the issues now enough to understand what this means. If I ever see you near my family again, and I know how to stalk too, I will kill you. That’s my offer.”

Sutcliffe was found to be subject to federal subject-matter jurisdiction for the interstate transfer of PII, a serious federal charge. The case is in appeal, but Global Crossing could have avoided the situation all together had they completed proper background examination prior to employment. Further protections, such as information documentation and security to protect employees, effective controls and exit procedures, as well as technology controls to limit accessibility would have gone a long way to prevent Sutcliffe from inflicting the damage he did.


Screening Hurricane Evacuees

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Amid the many oversights that were discovered in faulty evacuation procedures during hurricanes Katrina and Rita was the lack of information regarding the history of those who were being provided with shelter, food, and transport. As this year's hurricane season rages on, authorities are learning their lessons and not leaving anything to chance.

Hurricane Gustav was the first opportunity to implement background checks on evacuees seeking shelter from the storm. Louisiana implemented the procedure to keep sex offenders from seeking shelter with children after the disaster of Katrina, and the long wake of problems that followed in the months after.

"Authorities said "a couple" of men who were convicted sex offenders arrived with their families. Authorities said the men notified them of their past convictions; their families were allowed in the shelters and the men were taken to a separate location where state probation officials are making arrangements for them to be housed elsewhere. "

As Ike approaches the Gulf of Mexico, Texas is now gearing up for it's own background investigations. Any person needing transportation by bus will be screened in an effort to protect the vulnerable evacuees from any potential threat.

"...state officials would be able to segregate evacuees, even in the chaos of an emergency. “We’ll have procedures,” he [ Jack Colley] said, “and we’re not going to advertise what they are.”

With the possibility of the devastation of hurricanes, and the chaotic process of evacuating large cities, it is nice to know the authorities are taking measures to protect their citizens from further harm.


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