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Operation French Fry

Hoping to crack down on one of the nation's fastest-growing crimes, federal investigators on Friday revealed a new task force that has been targeting identity thieves in Southern California and cautioned the public to be on guard: Your mail carrier, mortgage broker or even the server at your favorite restaurant may be to blame.

Operation French Fry, found that servers at the Cheesecake Factory, T.G.I. Friday's and other restaurant chains secretly swiped diners' ATM and credit cards through a "skimmer," which is similar to the machines legally used to charge cardholders.

The data recorded on skimmers were then provided to alleged ringleaders Kresimir Matuzovic and Nour-Eddine Messaghrou, who have been accused of re-encoding or restripping the information onto their own cards.

Privacy boundary subjective with socail networking sites

At what point do social-networking websites cross the privacy line when providing online access to personal information? A recent uproar over Facebook provides some insight.

Part of Facebook's appeal is its privacy restrictions. One can only gain access to the site through a recognized peer group, such as a university, high school or employer. The only profiles that can be searched are those within your user group. This differs from social network sites such as MySpace, which are open to all members of the public.

IRS lags on privacy assessments

The IRS needs to conduct privacy assessments for the 54 percent of its computer systems that have not been assessed already in order to protect taxpayer or employee data they collect and process. The agency also has not adequately monitored its compliance with privacy laws, said the Office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

“As a result, the risk is increased that taxpayers' identities could be stolen and used for unlawful purposes,” said Michael Phillips, deputy inspector general for audit in a recent

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