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Just what the Boston Globe needed: another black eye

The Boston Globe is, like most newspapers, losing money hand over fist (they're owned by the increasingly-irrelevant New York Times) and looking to save some money. One of those economy measures has come back to haunt them.

When newspapers are delivered to vendors, they are usually wrapped in bundles. The packers put slips on each bundle with the count and its destination printed on them. These routing slips make sure each vendor gets just the right number of papers.

To economize, the Globe started recycling previously-used sheets and putting the routing information on the back. Not a bad notion -- get rid of your trash by giving it some use to others, then make them toss it out, right?

Unless, of course, those previously-used slips of paper had highly-sensitive information printed on them -- such as subscribers' names, addresses, credit card numbers, bank account numbers (complete with bank routing numbers).

Early estimates are that the Globe might have screwed over as many as 240,000 fools folks who subscribe to the Globe might need to get new credit cards, and 1,100 others new checking accounts.

The Globe knew about the story Monday, as the first vendors started calling them up and telling them, but they sat on the news until late Tuesday, and didn't publish their account until today. (Ironically, the Herald cuts them more slack -- they say it was Tuesday that the Globe found out about it, but the Globe itself says Monday.) The story goes to great lengths to cite other examples of companies screwing up with customers' information, in a part that smacks of the "well, everybody else does it too" excuse.

Newspapers and magazines usually offer substantial discounts to folks who subscribe over those who buy at the newsstand. With the Boston Globe, it appears that that savings can come at a substantial price.

Kevin adds: Someone forgot to close their strike tag... That's now fixed.


Comments (20)

Has your site been whacked?... (Below threshold)
tblubird:

Has your site been whacked? I see line throughs everywhere starting at the word "fools".

Jay you missed your....... (Below threshold)
MrX:

Jay you missed your....


oopsie...:-)

that didn't work out...... (Below threshold)
MrX:

that didn't work out...

I meant this..... close your strike tag

:-)

fix the strikethrough!!! My... (Below threshold)
meep:

fix the strikethrough!!! My eyes!

Hmmm.Someone forgo... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Someone forgot the end tag.

Hmmm.Who the hell ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Who the hell has been drawing lines on my monitor!

Holy Fajole! It's like some... (Below threshold)

Holy Fajole! It's like someone played etch a sketch with my monitor. Will the adults please clean up the mess?

We now return to our previously scheduled program.

I think they must have incl... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

I think they must have included the password to Wizvbang, oMG!!!1!!11!!t3h H4xxORZ!!!1one!111eleven!!1

... (Below threshold)

Lines, lines, everywhere, a... (Below threshold)
JohnAnnArbor:

Lines, lines, everywhere, and not a letter free of them.....

OOPS Hey Jay! Close the st... (Below threshold)

OOPS Hey Jay! Close the strike tag!

The RSS feed starting at th... (Below threshold)

The RSS feed starting at the word "fools" is nothing but strikethrough text...on ALL 15 entries.
Now that's funny!

I find it interesting that ... (Below threshold)
Enrak:

I find it interesting that you think people that subscribe to the BoGlob are fools.

I'm supposed to know that they'll give my credit card information out to strangers how exactly?

Enrak, it has nothing to do... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Enrak, it has nothing to do with privacy or security. Anyone who subscribes to the Globe, regardless of how they pay, is a fool.

J.

Reminds me of the time when... (Below threshold)
tyree:

Reminds me of the time when a local hospital ran new forms on the back of paper that was only printed on one side. Not necessarily a bad idea to save money and reduce waste. However, they found out that the medical descriptions of certain infectious diseases could make some people violently ill.

Ahh, the Glob(e). Brings b... (Below threshold)

Ahh, the Glob(e). Brings back memories of college - when the only two cage-liner choices for Boston-area undergrads were the Boston Globe (for those needing a little help with reading skills) and the Wall Street Journal (for curing insomnia). Nothing inspires confidence like releasing subscribers' credit card information at the newsstand.

Jay,I think that c... (Below threshold)
Enrak:

Jay,

I think that comment needs further explanation. I subscribe to the Sunday Globe. I mostly read the sports, magazine, real estate and opinion pages. Plus I cut coupons which more than pay for the Globe. I certainly don't use the Globe as my primary source of news.

How does that make me a fool? Because I don't like the Globe's opinion masquerading as news?

I think you are being unnecessarily insulting. Which is, of course, your right.

I think that comme... (Below threshold)
Sabba Hillel:
I think that comment needs further explanation. I subscribe to the Sunday Globe. I mostly read the sports, magazine, real estate and opinion pages. Plus I cut coupons which more than pay for the Globe. I certainly don't use the Globe as my primary source of news.

This is similar to the Baltimore Sun. In order to bump their advertising rates, they charge less for a full subscription than the individual Sunday paper at the news stand. My wife uses the coupons, I read the comics, and the two Sunday crosswords (NY Times & Sun) and sometimes Parade magazine. If I had a bird, the "news" section would do for the bottom of the bird cage (but I don't have a bird). In any case, the coupons and crosswords are worth the price.

Problems with your rant. Fi... (Below threshold)
Avon:

Problems with your rant. First off, it was the T&G that used the papers that contain the Globe's subscriber info to wrap the T&G Sunday advertising inserts.

Secondly, Vendors? It was a single vigilant Cumberland Farms clerk that blew the whistle. Not a group of vendors.

The following is from the G... (Below threshold)
Avon:

The following is from the Globe's initial statement:

Larkin said the newspapers were first notified of the security breach on Monday by a clerk at a Cumberland Farms store.

Use this link to read the entire release.




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