Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Article: Privacy issues develop over work done overseas

The issue of the privacy of personal information shipped overseas in connection with outsourcing is not a new issue, but an important one ...

Duluth News Tribune | 04/18/2004 | Privacy issues develop over work done overseas:

"The growing business of shipping sensitive personal data overseas threatens the privacy rights of U.S. citizens, according to Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and other foes of outsourcing.

Clinton is pushing legislation that would make U.S. businesses legally liable if a foreign subcontractor abuses American privacy laws.

The bill also would require U.S. businesses -- such as accounting firms, physicians, hospitals and banks -- to gain consent from consumers before shipping their private data to an overseas contractor if the Federal Trade Commission has determined that the country where the contractor is based doesn't have adequate privacy laws.

The privacy issue gained the attention of lawmakers after a Pakistani woman, Lubna Baloch, who transcribed confidential medical records of patients at UC San Francisco Medical Center, threatened to post them on the Internet last October unless the hospital helped her collect an overdue bill from a man who hired her as a medical transcription subcontractor.

Baloch withdrew her threat after she was paid.

Sue Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom, a nonprofit concerned with medical privacy, said if personal information like mental illness, alcoholism treatment, marriage counseling, illegal drug use or a sexually transmitted disease gets out to the public, 'it could be devastating and cause emotional pain and affect people's career, families or even the ability to get a mortgage.'"

As I've said before, nearshore outsourcing to places like Nova Scotia does not have the same risk as outsourcing to Asia. Check out Nova Scotia Business Inc.

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