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Marriott Data Breach Should Make You Mad, Says Ball State Professor

Dr. Rebecca Hammons, Associate Professor with Ball State University's Center for Information and Communication Sciences, says data breaches will continue to happen among large companies unless consumers put more pressure on lawmakers to tighten the rules.

INDIANAPOLIS -- You may be among half-a-billion people who had their information stolen in the Marriott data breach.  But one Ball State Professor says you should be very upset, not only at Marriott, but at your lawmakers.

 

Marriott says its database for guest reservations at its hotels has been hacked into, potentially exposing the information of 500-million guests.  The company says it found out about the breach last week and is trying to resolve it.

 

The hotel chain says hackers may have the names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card information of those guests going back to 2014.

 

Dr. Rebecca Hammons, Associate Professor with Ball State University's Center for Information and Communication Sciences, says data breaches will continue to happen among large companies unless consumers put more pressure on lawmakers to tighten the rules on protecting data.

 

"Consumers should be outraged that there is so little shared, even months, after a breach occurs.  The people need to petition [and] lobby their congressmen and congresswomen.  Only with outrage and pushback will we get practices that actually protect the consumers," says Dr. Hammons.

 

Dr. Hammons says Marriott has yet to publicly say whether the data was encrypted, including the credit card data, and how that credit card information was compromised.

 

Marriott International includes hotels such as Sheraton, Westin, the Fairfield Inn and the J.W. Marriott.

 

Marriott has set up a website, info.starwoodhotels.com, along with a call center to answer questions.

 

Photo: Getty Images / Raymond Boyd

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