Epsilon email hacks, mobile apps subpoenas raise data security and privacy issuesNewsBy Dennis Schaal | April 4, 2011Share This article was originally published on Just how safe is your personal information online? Definitely not as secure as it should be.The latest data breach, at database marketing company Epsilon, has numerous companies scurrying to notify and pacify their customers.Travel entities reported to have been hit by the Epsilon hack include Hilton's HHonors, Marriott, Ritz Carlton and Disney.As other companies did, Hilton sent an email to rewards program members notifying them of the data breach and assuring them that Epsilon reports that only names and email addresses were pilfered."The company was advised by Epsilon that the files accessed did not include any customer financial information and Epsilon has stressed that the only information taken was names and email addresses," Hilton wrote.Hilton advised customers to be aware of phishing emails, not to open emails from senders they don't recognize and not to share personal information in emails.Marriott, too, posted a response to the security breach on its website.Epsilon says it became aware of the incident on March 30 "where a subset of Epsilon clients' customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon's email system." The company says a "full investigation" is under way.Meanwhile, if that wasn't enough to put consumers on edge, Pandora, an Internet radio provider, said that it received a subpoena early this year about a federal grand jury investigation into "the information sharing processes of certain popular applications that run on the Apple and Android mobile platforms."Pandora said it "believes that similar subpoenas were issued on an industry-wide basis to the publishers of numerous other smartphone applications..."It is believed that the grand jury may be focusing on the manner in which apps publishers transmit information about users to third parties, including advertising networks.Pandora made the revelation in connection with an amended prospectus for an IPO.Between email hacks and data privacy practices, travel marketers likely will have to double-down on data security efforts and may have an uphill battle in assuring the public that ecommerce is safe.