Why Companies Won’t Learn Their Lesson From the T-Mobile/Experian Hack

As one of the fifteen million people who applied for T-Mobile USA’s post-paid services during that period, I was particularly aghast to learn about this breach. T-Mobile USA has, in the past two and a half years, been selling itself as an “uncarrier,” dedicated to upending the telecom industry’s status quo by offering simpler, cheaper, and more intelligible plans. I’d bought into this spin, and believed that it was the way forward for the industry.

Although no financial information was stolen in the T-Mobile breach, the completeness of the data that was acquired is akin to a Lego set for an identity thief. The fraudsters can set up new lines of credit or file for phony tax refunds in our names, and there isn’t much we can do about it.

Cybersecurity consultant Bryan Seely told the Seattle Times that, on a scale of one to ten, this breach rates a seven, because it included fifteen million Social Security numbers, along with names and addresses. “When Target had a breach, people were reissued cards. You can’t reissue Socials that easily,” he said. Over the weekend, the e-commerce security firm Trustev claimed that it had found data sets from the Experian hack for sale on the dark Web.

In his note, Legere directed customers to sign up for two years of free credit monitoring and “identity resolution” from a service owned by Experian—which had done such a stellar job of protecting our data in the first place. (Following a social-media outcry, which I participated in, Experian began to offer other options.)

The unauthorized access was in an isolated incident over a limited period of time. It included access to a server that contained personal information for consumers who applied for T-Mobile USA postpaid services or products, which require a credit check, from Sept. 1, 2013 through Sept. 16, 2015. Records containing a name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, identification number (typically a driver’s license, military ID, or passport number) and additional information used in T-Mobile’s own credit assessment were accessed. No payment card or banking information was obtained.

Circular Economy Could Generate $4.5 Trillion

Advances in digital technologies will underpin the emergence of the circular economy, according to the book. For instance, many companies are using combinations of mobile, machine-to-machine and data analytics to match the supply and demand for otherwise underused assets and products. "While a number of pioneers have achieved successful examples of the circular economy, new digital technologies now offer an opportunity for all companies to put circular business models at the core of their global strategies," says Jakob Rutqvist, senior manager, Accenture Strategy and co-author of Waste to Wealth. “To achieve large scale adoption, organizations also have to deploy new functional capabilities across their value chains.” Waste to Wealth recommends that companies consider implementing the following capabilities to support their circular economy models.

The driver of the circular economy isn’t scarcity, it’s opportunity,” says Lacy. “By keeping resources economically productive for as long as possible, companies can achieve greater growth. Most companies have waste hotwired into their existing ways of doing business and it will take many steps for most to turn waste into wealth. It saves costs and reduces the volume of waste and landfill. Some major companies now reuse 100 percent of the waste generated at certain manufacturing plants. But those who get there first will achieve circular advantage that differentiates them in their market.” Waste to Wealth is based on research across 120 companies and 50 executives and is the first book to establish the global economic opportunity presented by the circular economy, according to its authors. It contains a large number of case studies that explain how pioneers have succeeded across multiple industries. It is available in the United States, United Kingdom, China and Germany.
The circular economy could generate $4.5 trillion of additional economic output by 2030, according to new Accenture research that identifies circular business models that will help decouple economic growth and natural resource consumption while driving greater competitiveness. The Accenture Strategy research unveiled in a new book, Waste to Wealth, published by Palgrave Macmillan, reveals that today’s business practices will contribute to a global gap of 8 billion tons between the supply and demand of natural resources by 2030. This is equal to the total resource usage in North America in 2014 and translates to $4.5 trillion of lost economic growth by 2030 and as much as $25 trillion by 2050. Waste to Wealth notes that for the 40 years until the turn of the millennium, the real price of commodities fell despite rising demand, resulting in various forms of waste: wasted energy and materials that are only used once; wasted lifecycles where products are discarded after a short time; and wasted assets, such as cars, that stand idle for much of their lives.
In the last 15 years, however, commodity prices have begun to rise and become more volatile, reflecting the uncertainty of supply of many natural resources caused by the growth of the global population, the consumer economy and urbanization, according to the book. “The take, make and waste approach of traditional, linear business models has now begun to choke economic growth through unpredictable raw material prices and the increased cost of depending on less stable supplies of constrained resources,” says Peter Lacy, managing director, Accenture Strategy and co-author of the book. “By turning waste into wealth with new business models, companies can boost their competitiveness by reducing dependence on scarce resources and generating new innovative services that grow revenues.” The Accenture Strategy book identifies five business models that will drive the circular economy.