"No Evidence" and Breach Notice
According to ZDNet, “Coleman donor data breached in January, but donors alerted by Wikileaks not campaign:” [link to http://government.zdnet.com/?p=4456 no longer works]
Donors to Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman’s campaign got a rude awakening this week, thanks to an email from Wikileaks. Coleman’s campaign was keeping donor information in an unprotected database that contained names, addresses, emails, credit card numbers and those three-digit codes on the back of cards, Wikileaks told donors in an email.
We contacted federal authorities at that time, and they reviewed logs from the server in question as well as additional firewall logs. They indicated that, after reviewing those logs, they did not find evidence that our database was downloaded by any unauthorized party.
I wanted to bring this up, not to laugh at Coleman (that’s Franken’s job, after all), but because we frequently see assertions that “there’s no evidence that…”
As anyone trained in any science knows, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. At the same time, sometimes there really is sufficient evidence, properly protected, that allows that claim to be made. We need public, documented and debated standards of how such decisions should be made. With such standards, organizations could better make decisions about risk. Additionaly, both regulators and the public could be more comfortable that those piping up about risk were not allowing the payers to call the tune.