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Recent Events Shows Continued Extent of Data Disposal Problems (and the Increasing Consequences)

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March 27, 2018

A recently released study spearheaded by a Canadian physician and subsequently published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) exposed the fact that the large hospital where she is based routinely discards highly confidential information in a manner that puts the patient privacy at risk. According to the report, the finding has sparked outrage among patients and regulators in the region. Given JAMA high readership and reputation, the release of the study will find a large audience among high-level healthcare administrators and affords an excellent opportunity for NAID members to refer to it when selling.

The findings of the study are eerily reminiscent of the NAID-Canada “Disposal Habits” study conducted a decade ago, where, among other things; it was found the 75% of doctors’ offices were improperly discarding patient information in publicly accessible trash bins.

At the same time, it was widely announced separately that Home Depot was issued a fine of $27 million by the state of California for improperly disposing of electronic equipment, batteries and confidential information, all in violation of California state law. According to the report, the fine, reached as part of an agreed settlement, resulted from a two and half year investigation of the home improvement chains disposal practices.

Of course, readers will also remember that one year ago, NAID released the largest-ever examination of used-electronic equipment in its Second Hand Devices Study, showing a significant percentage of recycled electronics were not effectively erased, and therefore, still contained personally identifiable information.

It seems, despite decades of education, continued media coverage, and increasing fines, there is still considerable work ahead for NAID, and a great opportunity for NAID members to help their customers avoid such pitfalls.