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"Tough Nerd" Michigan Governor, Former Gateway CEO, Not Tough or Nerdy Enough To Avoid Identity Theft

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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today unveiled a plan to protect the state from cybercriminals and Web security attacks, mostly by giving the state police something called a "Cyber Command Center."

Sounds ... well, not quite like the first priority we can think of for a state with 11% unemployment that's making drastic cuts to public services. But Snyder, the former venture capitalist and PC executive, is considered a smart dude in Michigan politics, so there's no way this is just some boondoggle designed, say, to keep the police unions off his back. There must be some deeper stratagem at play here.

Maybe, maybe not. It turns out the governor got the idea from personal experience. reports:

"I’m a victim," he said. "My family and I have been a victim of cyber crime. If you think about it, it’s probably the most pervasive single crime in this country. Most of us have been a victim in some fashion."

Snyder, without providing many details, said his personal financial information had been compromised about five years ago. A multi-millionaire, Snyder said he learned his identity had been stolen when he started getting "harangued by collection agencies" over bills he didn't have.

"It took over two years to finally clean it up," he said. "That was a major hassle."

Wait a minute, though. Isn't this the guy who ran for office on his experience as a tech-savvy businessman? The "tough nerd" who would use his high-tech experience to lift depressed, postindustrial Michigan into competitiveness in the Information Age? The "smartest guy in the room" whose foresight and strategic thinking could set his state on a better course?

What kind of "tough nerd" gets his credit card number stolen?

And that's not Snyder's only recent cybersecurity slip-up:

He also said that a few years ago, he discovered that a computer he had set up for his children to use had apparently been compromised and used in a botnet, a secret network of computers used by hackers to coordinate web attacks.

So basically, this is a guy who was in charge of a large chunk of the US retail PC business ... and has no idea how to set up his PC so it won't be open to malware attacks.

Not the most encouraging sign.

Maybe it shouldn't surprise us, though, to hear the "techie" governor is an incompetent computer user. After all, the PC company Snyder ran as president and interim CEO? Gateway.

You know, the Gateway notorious for bad products and industry-worst tech support. The also-ran with the inexplicable cow-patterned branding that mismanaged itself into irrelevance, and ended up bought by its Taiwanese competitor Acer at $1.90 a share. The former American PC company.

Good luck with that recovery, Michigan!
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.