Technology hurts and helps privacy management

By Ian Turnbull
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/17/2005

Earlier this year, someone walked into a University of California, Berkeley office and walked out with a laptop containing personal data about more than 98,000 people, including social security numbers. This theft highlights the need for simple and basic physical security; it also emphasizes a misplaced reliance on technology. Apparently, the university had instituted encryption technology. However, while they had scheduled the laptop for encryption, no one had yet encrypted the notebook’s hard drive at the time of the theft.

The privacy and security of personal information is highly dependent on the existence and enforcement of the business processes that are created to collect, use, retain, secure, and destroy it.

Most organizations will use a combination of manual and automated systems to manage personal information. The technology of those automated systems can be a great help — but it also creates potential security gaps and the accompanying need for HR processes to protect information.