According to dailymail.co.uk and other sites, the offices of Dr. Johannes Peil were broken into last week. Whether this caused a data breach hasn’t been revealed but it has certainly raised the alarm because Dr. Peil is the doctor to F1 racecar driver Michael Schumacher and other prominent individuals. One would hope, based on the patients the doctor ministers to, that the stolen device was properly protected with the likes of medical laptop encryption solutions like AlertBoot.
As scandals have revealed over the past number of years, celebrity news and star gazing (not the interstellar kind) is big business in the European continent. The competition among celebrity rags is so fierce that certain publications willfully crossed the line and surreptitiously hacked cellphones and other devices to get the inside scoop, literally.
Not even private health data was verboten from consideration, as Schumacher’s family found out last year: a man who had helped the F1 champion during a skiing accident tried to capitalize on his services by offering details of Schumacher’s medical condition to the rags. He was subsequently arrested and later committed suicide while behind bars.
Based on such experiences, the latest laptop theft does not bode well for Schumacher’s privacy: despite items other than the laptop having been pilfered (including petty cash, perfume, and prescription forms), the assortment is odd enough to make one wonder whether they were a smokescreen for the real prize, the contents of the laptop, especially when taking into account that several men were involved. I mean, can you imagine a band of male thieves saying to themselves, “quick, grab that perfume on the doc’s desk”?
We live in a world where access to sensitive information can be restricted, and quite successfully. The use of disk encryption software is one such way, as governments keep reminding us: in the same breath they condemn its use (because encryption makes it harder for law enforcement to do its job) and encourage it as well (because data breaches in all forms are growing exponentially and don’t show any signs of abating).
Assuming that the doctor’s stolen laptop was encrypted, the odds are that any information within it will remain secure. In fact, I cannot imagine it not encrypted: in addition to Schumacher, the Dalai Lama is also a patient to Dr. Peil. If memory servers, spyware (supposedly created by China) had been found on His Serenity’s laptop, which is a tricky maneuver. Hiring some goons to break into his physician’s office would be, in comparison, a cakewalk. Encrypting any and all data storage devices as a contingency would be prudent, I think, to most people.
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