When Erik Voorhees, founder of ShapeShift, decided against serving consumers using New York state IP addresses, he also founded a new website: PleaseProtectConsumers (PPC). This site is a sort of pledge-record for companies who similarly refuse to collect unnecessary and potentially dangerous information from their customers. Voorhees writes:
“We are committed to consumer protections […] For this reason, we believe it is reckless and ethically impermissible to extract personal, private information from our users, […] which inevitably becomes a target for hackers and other malicious actors.”
The launch of PPC came at an especially apt time, as mere days later it was reported that the digital records of 14 million American military employees had been hacked from a government data repository.
The Guardian writes that the records obtained included “deeply personal information about mental illnesses, drug and alcohol use, past arrests and bankruptcies, […] listing of contacts and relatives, [… and] applicant’s social security number and that of his or her cohabitant.”
Voorhees is hoping that other companies and organizations will join him in vowing not to become honey pots of exploitable information. He continues:
“Identity theft is the biggest and most costly form of theft in our society. Fortunately, Bitcoin and blockchain technology have enabled a new standard of financial privacy and consumer protection that was sorely needed. No longer must an individual expose sensitive private information when engaging in transactions.”
Businesses and organizations interested in putting their name on PleaseProtectConsumer’s participation roster can find a contact email address on PPC’s homepage.
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