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NAID Study Shows Over 40% of London’s Commercial Trash Containers Contained Personal Information

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According to a study commissioned by NAID, the casual disposal of extremely sensitive personal information is a common practice for a significant portion of London-area organizations.

In a month-long study, similar to those previously conducted in Madrid and Toronto, private investigators examined the contents of the city’s publicly accessible commercial trash containers in an effort to determine the amount of personal information present there. 

The study was commissioned by the NAID to determine whether or not the recently escalated data protection fines, now at £500,000, and the ongoing publicity about the dangers of identity theft are being taken seriously.

Overall, 44% of the institutions, each with a legal burden to protect personal information, were found to be casually discarding personal information.

As to the cause of such callous disregard for clients’ personal data, NAID Board member Lloyd Williamsof Nottingham-based Shredall, Ltd. says, “It is a matter of priorities.  Employers do not stress the importance of data protection to frontline staff.  The emphasis is on productivity and not security.  It is simply not productive to use a small, slow office shredder destroying documents.”

NAID does not release the names of the organizations that are subjects of the investigation.

According to Williams, “Releasing the names would actually be a disservice to the public. If we make the issue about the bad behavior of a couple of dozen organizations, we will lose sight of the real issue. The real issue is how wide spread the problem is.  It makes no sense to try to isolate a handful of institutions when on any given day, 1 out of 3 organisations are doing the same thing.”

A complete report on the London Disposal Habits Study and on similar studies NAID has conducted, as well as NAID’s plans for future studies, will be included in the December 2011 edition of NAIDnews.