Online privacy has moved from the paranoid to the reasonable, and another scare story emerges at most every few months. The media pounce, the public is outraged, calming & apologetic statements are issued, and everyone forgets.

Only two days ago the BBC reported that feeds from thousands of Trendnet home security cameras had been breached, allowing anyone access to the feeds online without a password.

More disturbing was the company’s admission that despite only 5% of their users registering the products (making them impossible to contact), no formal media statement had been issued after knowing about the problem for more than three weeks.

So we have companies who are not only irresponsible with the information we share, but also abuse the trust that we place in their products and services.

And this is apparently acceptable. It must be, because where is the great outcry?

Here in the UK we’ve seen an endless torrent of staggering IT stupidity. Government ministers and bankers carry incredibly sensitive and private information, unencrypted, on USB memory sticks and laptops, then leave them in bars, trains, taxis and planes. Despite the cost of data encryption starting at £0.

At some point the bubble has to burst.

At some point enough people will be hurt badly enough to move from shaking their heads to taking action.

Customers wield more power with their collective credit cards than any government legislation. Now might be a good time to remind your customers how much you value their trust and safeguard their privacy.

Update: From the BBC news website:

“The makers of two iPhone apps have apologised after it emerged they had uploaded users address-book information without explicit permission.”

iPhone apps Path and Hipster offer address-book apology