News surfaced this week of BP losing a password-protected laptop containing the personal information of roughly 13,000 individuals who filed claims related to the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010. It’s an unfortunate case that begs the question: Could M2M have played a role in protecting this data?

Todd Kleperis, with IContain says absolutely yes. His company focuses on data and personal identity protection through the use of connected technologies. In this particular case, let’s take a look at his company’s ICnet software. It can be installed on a computer, smartphone, tablet, or other connected device, and once triggered begin the process of protecting your data.

For instance, let’s say your device is stolen. You login to a Web portal and trigger the software to activate, at which time it gathers location information (ICnet uses Wi-Fi hotspots and/or network data to locate the device geographically), along with network details, screenshots, and camera photos. All of this information is then sent to the ICnet Web control panel or straight to your inbox.

All of this seems great, but the device has already been stolen! This is where the software gets really cool. Using the Web portal you are able to shut down your computer or even delete certain files. And if you really want to get this person you can prompt a message to flash across the screen that says ‘you stole this computer and we know where you are’ and have the camera take a snapshot of the thief. Not enough? The company says you can even prompt an alarm to sound off on your computer—like a car alarm for your device.

I could see this being very useful for businesses, helping them protect against that stolen laptop with critical business information. How about parents wanting to ensure their kids really are doing homework and not playing games or chatting? Another useful case for the camera snapshot of the screen. I am just glad my parents didn’t have something like this when I was younger. Check it out: http://i-contain.com/hub/new-products/icnet/

It’s stories like this that make what we cover so exciting. Just thinking about how it could have helped a company like BP makes it even better. And for those of you that missed the story about BP, here is the official statement sent to me by Daren Beaudo in BP’s press office:

“BP recently learned that a password-protected laptop computer was lost during business-related travel. This laptop contained personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security Numbers of approximately 13,000 individuals who filed claims related to the Deepwater Horizon accident. The personal information was in a spreadsheet maintained by BP as part of a tracking process for claims arising from the Deepwater Horizon accident – part of the claims process before the Gulf Coast Claims Facility was established.

The lost laptop was immediately reported to law enforcement authorities and BP security, but has not been located despite a thorough search. There is no evidence that the laptop or data was targeted or that anyone’s personal data has in fact been compromised or accessed in any way. Our Security team continues to monitor the situation very closely and we are still in touch with authorities in an attempt to recover the laptop.

We have sent written notice to individuals impacted by this event to inform them about the loss of their personal data and to offer them free credit monitoring services to help protect their personal information.

The laptop is equipped with a security device that will allow us to remotely disable the machine under certain circumstances. Because this investigation and search for the missing laptop is ongoing, we are unable to provide additional detail that might jeopardize our investigation efforts.

BP takes the protection of personal information very seriously and deeply regrets the loss of the laptop.”

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