Data Protection

Major Data Breach at HIV Clinic in London


This article by Jamie Doward for The Guardian explains what happened when an employee used the “to” bar, rather than the “bcc” bar by accident. The BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field on emails is for addresses of recipients of the message whose addresses are not to be revealed to other recipients. Instead of hiding the personal details of those on the recipient list, a London clinic included their full names and email addresses. The clinic could face hundreds of legal claims.

In our rapidly changing technology-driven world, where organizations are turning more and more to digital communications, data protection is becoming an area of growing importance.  People care about what happens to their personal information and rules need to be put in place in order to control all of the metadata being pulled together from various sources. Data protection not only concerns organizations communicating via digital channels but also those using paper communications. A document is one of the most critical means of communicating with customers and often contains personal information. As a result organizations are investing heavily in document security in order to ensure their mailing process is compliant.

Data should be viewed as an asset and, although there are no clear guidelines on how to value it from an accounting perspective, it should be included in the balance sheet at some point. The data protection legislation planned for Europe will offer opportunites for enterprises that treat data as an asset - an asset with a value. Data is tipped to become a very valuable tool in the future and organizations will be able to do a lot more for their customers if they learn how to leverage the data they collect while ensurig the protection expected by these customers.


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