FTC Unveils Practical Suggestions for Businesses on Safeguarding Personal Information

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The Federal Trade Commission is offering a new guide for businesses with practical suggestions on safeguarding sensitive data. The 24-page brochure can help businesses of all sizes protect their customers’ and employees’ personal information. FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras unveiled the guide today at the Privacy Summit of the International Association of Privacy Professionals in Washington, DC, where she received the Privacy Leadership Award on behalf of the agency.

“Information security cannot be an afterthought for businesses,” said Majoras. “Consumers expect and deserve to have their sensitive personal information kept secure.”

“Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business,” available at www.ftc.gov/infosecurity, is built around five simple phrases:

TAKE STOCK. Know what personal information you have in your files and on your computers.

SCALE DOWN. Keep only what you need for business.

LOCK IT. Protect the information you keep.

PITCH IT. Properly dispose of what you no longer need.

PLAN AHEAD. Create a plan to respond to security incidents.

The plain-language guide includes checklists to get businesses thinking about the kind of data they collect, how they store it, and who they share it with. It offers solutions for determining what needs to be kept, how to secure it, what to get rid of, and how to properly dispose of it. The guide also instructs businesses in the basics of creating a plan for dealing with a security breach, in the event one does occur.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.


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