Friday, December 03, 2004

You're faxing my what, where?

After the anger and fingerpointing about the recent CIBC faxing incident(s), columnists are moving to a practical approach on the issue: why are you faxing confidential informaiton and is there a better way to communicate? Jim Middlemiss of the Financial Post has a good column on these questions:

You're faxing my what, where?:

"There are better ways to send sensitive information

Jim Middlemiss
Financial Post
December 2, 2004

Businesses can avoid potential public relations and legal nightmares by developing privacy policies, authentication processes and using cutting-edge technology. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce learned this the hard way last week when U.S. scrapyard operator Wade Peer went public with his story about how one of Canada's largest banks was flooding his fax machine with highly confidential information about its clients for the past three years."

I usually advise clients to be very careful faxing. The preferred way to do it is to e-mail a PDF of the documents (and turn off e-mail address auto-complete features). If you routinely send confidential information via fax, you should only use pre-programmed speed-dial numbers. And make sure you verify each one right after they are programmed. And you need to do what you can to avoid hitting the wrong button: the medical records department button must not be adjacent to the button for the local newspaper. Don't laugh. It has actually happened. Do you think that they will heed your cover-page warning to immediately destroy the fax? Perhaps not.

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