Archive for Business

Updated information offered on Equifax data breach

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today offered updated information for consumers following the recent Equifax data breach.

Earlier this month, Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting bureaus, announced that its system was compromised between May and July of this year affecting 143 million Americans. Equifax now says that number includes about 1.1 million Kansans.

“As consumers decide how to protect themselves moving forward from this widespread data breach, the updated information now available should help in making informed decisions,” Schmidt said.

The following updates can be found on Equifax’s website:

Arbitration Clauses: Equifax has stated enrollment in “TrustedID Premier”– their product offered in response to the breach – will not subject an enrollee to mandatory arbitration. According to Equifax, the arbitration clauses originally included in the Terms of Use on the site www.equifaxsecurity2017.com have now been removed, and the Terms of Use on www.equifax.com do not apply to the TrustedID Premier product being offered to consumers as a result of the breach.

Waiver of Rights: Equifax now also has stated that the Terms of Use do not create a waiver of class action rights. Specifically, Equifax states, “to be as clear as possible, we will not apply any arbitration clause or class action waiver against consumers for claims related to the free products offered in response to the cybersecurity incident or for claims related to the cybersecurity incident itself.”

Charge for Security Freeze: Equifax has agreed to waive fees for placing and removing security freezes through Nov. 21, 2017. Additionally, consumers who paid for a security freeze starting at 5 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2017 will receive a refund. Note that you are still required to pay for security freezes through TransUnion and Experian should you choose to place a freeze there; to do this, you must contact TransUnion and Experian directly.

Last week, Schmidt, along with the attorneys general of 31 other states and territories, sent a letter to Equifax urging the company to reconsider some of their current practices in response to the breach. Among other things, the letter asked Equifax to cease marketing fee-based products; to extend the TrustedID Premier enrollment deadline; and to extend the hours to 24-hours-a-day and to properly staff the call center. A copy of that letter can be found at http://bit.ly/2ycLUBI. The attorneys general have not yet received a response.

Consumers can find more information about how to protect themselves from data breaches at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.

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Business West to focus on Turner Diagonal

The new Amazon warehouse has changed the landscape along the Turner Diagonal Corridor. A panel of experts will discuss how this came about and the related development potential at the annual meeting of Business West starting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Mary Ann Flunder Lodge (formerly the Conference Center) at Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Ave.

The panelists will be Brent Miles, Northpoint Development; Jon Stephens, Unified Government; and Conrad Miller, a development lawyer. Jane Winkler Philbrook, the president of Business West, will be the panel moderator.

The cost for the meeting will be $20, which will include lunch. For reservations, telephone 913-766-4300 or 913-406-6266 (cell) or email murrel@mcbconsultinginc.com.

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Commerce Department directs efforts toward existing, new businesses

by Murrel Bland

The Kansas Department of Commerce focuses on business retention, attracting new business and improving workforce development.

That was the message that David Soffer brought to a meeting of the Congressional Forum Friday, Sept. 15, at Children’s Mercy Park in Village West. Soffer is the director of marketing and research for the Commerce Department. He lives in Overland Park.

Soffer was substituting for his boss, Nick Jordan, who is Kansas secretary of commerce. Jordan was originally scheduled to speak at the forum; However, Gov. Sam Brownback requested Jordan to accompany him on a trip to Dallas, Texas.

He said that the state needs to do a better job of telling the advantages of doing business in Kansas. These advantages include more reasonable operating costs. Labor and taxes tend to be lower in Kansas than such places as New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Soffer said he can attest to more reasonable living costs as he moved to Overland Park from the Brooklyn Heights community of New York City.

Recruiting a qualified workforce is an important part of the Commerce Department’s functions. He said one of the sources of qualified workers is retired military. He said the Department of Commerce wants to take advantage of retiring military personnel at places such as Ft. Riley near Junction City, Kan.

The Commerce Department also works with educators, particularly those in grades K-12 and in post-secondary levels, to assure that there are adequate workers for Kansas businesses, Soffer said.

He also said the Commerce Department works closely with local units of government and their economic development efforts including those in Wyandotte County. He cited the new Amazon warehouse just off the Turner Diagonal which will provide some 2,500 jobs.

Soffer said he expected the Commerce Department to submit a proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters. Economic development officials throughout the country are vying for a $5 billion complex that would employee an estimated 50,0000 persons in very well-paying jobs. But various publications, including The New York Times, sees little chance that Kansas (or Kansas City, Mo.) would attract the Amazon prize. One economic development observer said Kansas City simply doesn’t have the necessary workers.

One person at the forum suggested that the Sprint campus in Overland Park might be a good location for the second Amazon headquarters. However, those familiar with Amazon’s requirements said the Sprint campus wouldn’t be large enough.

Soffer was asked about the Tyson Chicken processing plant that has been proposed for rural Leavenworth County just south of Tonganoxie. Several Leavenworth County residents have attended public meetings protesting Tyson. They cite environmental concerns and the potential of overcrowding schools. Soffer said the $320 million plant would provide 1,600 jobs, but was careful not to say much more.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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