Friday, June 25, 2010

Managed Print Services: "I'm From the Government and I'm here to Help - give me your hard drive."

In a recent article, "Legislation proposed to protect consumer information and prevent identity theft in New Jersey" by TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

"State Sen. Bob Smith and Assembly woman Linda Greenstein (both D-Middlesex) Tuesday unveiled legislation designed to attempt to combat identity theft by requiring the hard drives of all digital copy machines to be wiped clean in order to protect sensitive, personal information, which is stored on each machine, in some cases in perpetuity and unbeknownst to consumers..."

In my opinion, we don't need anymore legislation. I don't see where or even if, copier manufactures are going to be held to some level of responsibility.

"The Smith-Greenstein bill would require that all records stored on a digital copy machine be destroyed when a machine is no longer going to be used by an individual or business, for example when a machine is being resold, returned at the end of a lease agreement, decommissioned or discarded.

The bill also requires that the records be erased or modified so that the information stored is unreadable, undecipherable or non-reconstructable through generally available means.

Anyone who knowingly violates the provisions of the bill, which will be enforced by the state Attorney General, is liable to a penalty of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $20,000 for the second and each subsequent offense. An individual who incurs damages in business or property as a result of a violation of this bill may sue the responsible party in state Superior Court and may recover compensatory and punitive damages and the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee, costs of investigation and litigation.

"I'll be the first to admit that until recently, I was among the majority of Americans that had no idea that digital copiers store all of this information on their hard drive," Smith said. "As is the case with so many businesses, copiers are leased and returned at the end of a lease agreement and then sold or re-leased to a new buyer. It's frightening to think about all the information that is potentially at risk unless we require hard drives to be erased before an owner relinquishes it."

"Consider all of the highly sensitive information stored on copiers used by both the public and private sector - medical records from a doctor's office, tax information and social security numbers from an accountant's office, sensitive police records, you name it," Greenstein said. "In today's global economy, a copier used in a doctor's office in Trenton could be re-sold to someone in South America, sending thousands of sensitive documents into the realm of the unknown and opening up a Pandora's box of potential fraud cases. We need this legislation and we need it now."

Because the Legislature can only regulate copiers used in New Jersey, Smith and Greenstein are also introducing a resolution urging Congress to enact similar legislation at the federal level.

The state legislation is expected to be introduced in the Assembly on Thursday and in the Senate on Monday.

For an in-depth look at the scope of the problem, see the CBS News report here."

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