Newspapers: Sorry for leaking your credit card. Now I’m going to break Google.

This is not the sort of headline you want to see: Subscriber credit card data distributed by mistake, writes the Boston Globe. It’s particularly galling when you find out how the information was distributed: stacks of account reports containing credit card numbers and bank account numbers with routing codes were inadvertently recycled as “toppers” on bundles of subscriber papers. Thanks to the Slashdot thread, I can also point to an online application that reports if your information was leaked or not.

Contrast this with the latest in a series of “make the bastards pay” stories about pre-Internet dinosaur businesses who want to tax providers of useful Internet services out of existence: Newspapers want search engines to pay:

Web search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, collect headlines and photos for their users without compensating the publishers a cent,according to the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which announced Tuesday that it intends to “challenge the exploitation of content” by the Googles and MSNs of the Web.

Since the World Association of Newspapers seems to have a lot of time on its hands, I have a list of suggestions for more profitable activities:

  1. Create a code of conduct about how you will treat sensitive subscriber data.
  2. Enforce it.
  3. Stop trying to block search engines from accessing your content.
  4. Stop arbitrarily limiting your online ad inventory and hurting your authority by scrolling your old headlines behind a paywall.
  5. Start getting a clue about information security and the Web. Please. For the love of God.