Dear Editor,

New Jersey health insurer Horizon Blue Cross is in the process of notifying close to one million New Jerseyans that their private personal data was stored unencrypted on company laptops that were stolen about one month ago.

There is no excuse for not using secure encryption technologies such as PGP encryption to store private healthcare records, especially considering the recent NSA spying scandal and the amount of security breaches to private personal data caused daily around the world by malicious hackers and thieves.

The European Union is in the process of updating their Data Protection Directive to member states with their new General Data Protection Regulation, designed to also protect privacy rights in the modern era of social networks and cloud computing. Iceland has passed their Icelandic Modern Media Initiative which protects whistleblowers and freedom of speech in the digital age.

I call upon the New Jersey legislature to closely monitor the progress of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation as well as study the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative and immediately adopt legislation modeled on both policies.

Computer Security Researcher and WikiLeaks activist, Jacob Applebaum ( would be an ideal expert for the New Jersey legislature to have lead a state commission tasked with advising the legislature on both the technical and geopolitical aspects necessary for an effective New Jersey Data Protection and Free Speech law.

Eric Hafner

Toms River, NJ

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...