October 16, 2017

I hate to start the week with an "everything is awful" post, but really. Those of us who thought we'd done the right thing by joining LifeLock in the wake of the Equifax breach got a hard smack from John Oliver last night. At the ten minute mark of the video above, Oliver highlights this exchange between Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Equifax CEO Rick Smith:

SENATOR WARREN: According to filings with the SEC, Lifelock purchases credit monitoring services from Equifax. And that means, someone buys credit monitoring through Lifelock, Lifelock turns around, and passes some of that revenue, directly to Equifax. Is that right, Mr. Smith?

RICK SMITH, EQUIFAX: That is correct.

Of course, Rick Smith "retired" from Equifax recently amid the scandal of leaking our financial and personal information in a huge data breach, so he's been sufficiently punished, right? Wait, there's more:

Smith, who has been the CEO of Equifax since 2005, has accumulated about $18.5 million in retirement benefits that he’ll receive no matter what. Then there’s the Equifax stock he owns that was worth about $23.6 million as of Tuesday’s market close, which Smith is now free to sell as he pleases now that he’s no longer CEO. And that’s on top of the stock he already dumped earlier this year for proceeds of nearly $19 million (before taxes). Add to that his prorated salary of more than $1 million, and the total still comes to almost $62 million.

On the other hand, if Smith ends up just retiring as planned, there’s one other reason that could put some of his compensation at risk: If Equifax’s stock price, which has fallen more than 25% since the company announced the breach, fails to recover. Of Smith’s total $90 million paycheck, nearly $22 million is performance-based compensation tied to Equifax’s three-year stock performance, and Smith won’t receive the full amount for which he is eligible unless Equifax’s stock significantly outperforms the S&P 500 over that time period.

Either way, Smith himself seems resigned to his fate.

Resigned to his fate?!? That at 57 he's got 18.5 million bucks retirement money and the question is how much MORE he'll get or not based on technicalities -- whether Equifax "lets" him retire or fires him?

Everything old is new: we are living through the robber baron age again, only this time they're robbing us of our financial and personal data, the only thing average people have that's worth anything.

And in other news, Wi-Fi has a huge breach in it everywhere? Affecting ALL modern wi-fi networks? Oh that's okay Microsoft has patched it, and my Android phone will be alright in a couple of weeks, "they" promise.

How many Americans can do anything at work without the internet?

We've put our entire welfare in the hands of a few, folks.

And don't get me started about Net Neutrality.

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