Recent Data Breach Highlights Need for Tougher Regulations

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A data breach violation involving the casual disposal of medical records in Northbrook, Ill. highlights the need for tougher regulations. NAID is urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Illinois attorney general to investigate.

The only unusual thing about this incident is that it has reportedly led to an investigation.

A data breach violation involving the casual disposal of medical records in Northbrook, Ill. highlights the need for tougher regulations. The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) is urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Illinois attorney general to investigate.

“While horrified by the event, we are not surprised,” said NAID CEO Bob Johnson. “Even though the unsecured disposal of personal information is known to be a major source of identity and medical fraud, it is a standard practice that is largely ignored by regulators enforcing data protection regulations. The only unusual thing about this incident is that it has reportedly led to an investigation.”

According to the article published Feb. 25, a CBS 2 Chicago investigator discovered a dumpster diver collecting and selling patient records she found in a dumpster behind an office building. The investigator reported the issue to authorities, as indicated in the article linked above.

“We appreciate that regulators have limited resources,” added Johnson. “But this incident provides them with a great opportunity to send the message that improper disposal of personal information will not be tolerated. Examples and precedents need to be made.”

Medical identity theft is a particular troubling type of identity fraud because the thieves have the capability to actually change an individual’s medical record.

“I’d hate to be admitted to the hospital while incapacitated not knowing whether or not someone had changed my record to reflect I am not allergic to penicillin,” said Johnson. “It would cost me my life.”

About NAID: The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) is the non-profit trade association of the secure destruction industry, which currently represents more than 1,900 member locations globally. NAID’s mission is to promote the proper destruction of discarded information through education and to encourage the outsourcing of destruction needs to qualified contractors, including those that are NAID certified.

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Kristina Carlberg
NAID
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