Monday, January 10, 2005
~ New Year Advise for Keeping Clients' Information Private ~
A recent final Federal Trade Commission Rule that is part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) of 2003, requires companies to protect consumers against unauthorized access to credit report derived information, through proper disposal of computer hard drives, as well as paper documentation.
The FACTA Rule applies to virtually every business and private employer in the U.S., according to an FTC press release, and requires businesses to comply by June 1, 2005, by implementing a document destruction policy.
"Penalties for violating the rule include actual damages, statutory damages up to $1,000 punitive damages per violation (with no cap on class action damages), attorneys' fees, and civil penalties up to $2,500. FTC final rule
Read the Treasury Department's digest of the FACTA process, and final determination. Read the pdf document
Related article from the ABA: Tips For Ethically Retiring Your Old Computers.
Remote Seizing of Your Private Computer Data
You've experienced this annoying problem first hand: spyware on your computer that captures your web site viewing habits. You receive unwanted email on everything from improving your sex life to shady investment schemes. In a worse-case scenario, spyware can hijack personal data, like passwords, login details and credit card numbers.
A new California State law, Consumer Protection Against Spyware Act bans the installation of software that takes control of another computer. Companies and websites must disclose whether their systems will install spyware. Victims are able to seek up to $1,000 in damages.
Earthlink and Webroot found that 90% of PCs are infested with the surreptitious software and that, on average, each one is harbouring 28 separate spyware programs.
You, and your clients can get a measure of prevention by installing FREE anti-spyware programs, such as Spybot and Ad-Aware.