Monday, October 21, 2013

Privacy Goes Both Ways

In 2013 there are are lot of ways that people and companies purposefully violate their own privacy. People bare their lives on social media and are more than happy to publicly post information that probably should be kept private. Companies like to drop hints of private information to drum up interest in their next product release or to test out potential idea. It's not uncommon for both to be good things and bad things all at the same time.

But sometimes, it's not such a good thing. I started to think about this concept when reading this Deadspin article about whether athletes deserve more privacy in their injuries. It's a fair question as opponents' strategy can be altered and future earnings could be diminished, but with fantasy leagues and Vegas betting and 24/7 sports coverage, it's hard to keep it out of the news. But there are other concerns as the author of the article writes:
Professional athletes often have their privacy trampled on in the name of public discourse and the team press release. As a sports fan, I've never once stopped to think that this is strange or unfair. Yet as a physician, I'm familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and recognize the importance of the safeguards surrounding patient privacy. But professional teams often create their own HIPAA exemptions through the use of contractual waivers that allow team doctors and trainers to release private medical information to coaches, front office personnel, and owners. The waiver often allows the team to make certain injury information public, which makes many of us uncomfortable
It does and it doesn't. That athlete has the same ability to leave the team and talk about private details including signs and special plays and maybe even injury issues that may not be public.

This is not only in the sports world--employees sometimes violate the privacy of the company their leaving in the real world too. The Wall Street Journal has some gory details about that including the sad fact that nothing has to be printed out or written down anymore--as employees can just upload information to the cloud and be on their way. There is one way that HR Professionals can be ahead of the curve on this, however:

It's crucial that IT security managers communicate with the human-resources department so they are aware of pending layoffs or other personnel issues that might lead to employee departures. "The simplest thing companies can do is to make sure there is a good communication path between human resources and IT security staff," says Patrick Reidy, former chief information-security officer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who now holds the same post at Computer Sciences Corp.
Or else it could be your company's information that a former employee is posting on social media...and that could be really, really bad

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