Some companies have so much data collected they are storing it on a storage provider’s cloud sites until they can figure out what to do with it. Much of this data involves ePII or electronically stored Personal Identifying Information. If this type of data falls into criminal hands, company customers and/or employees can have their identities stolen and their finances wrecked.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is one of a number of federal agencies that help protect the American consumer. This protection extends to help businesses keep consumer’s private information private.
As one of the oldest federal agencies that include consumer protection in their bailiwick, the FTC has a strong interest in seeing that consumer information is properly protected.
FTC and Data Security
There are a number of ways the FTC works to protect consumer data and they include:
- Civil law enforcement;
- Policy Initiatives; and
- Recommendations to Congress for the enactment of laws in this area of consumer concern.
Civil Law Enforcement
A recent addition to the Federal Trade Commission is the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection. Its powers extend to the following areas of consumer privacy that require strong data security.
- Consumer privacy
- Identity theft
- Credit reporting
- Information security; and
- Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse
It is fair to say that this division is responsible for investigating and enforcing consumer privacy needs and can fine organizations out of compliance with its privacy regulations or force a company to follow a plan of corrective action. For the most egregious violators, it can refer the case to criminal law enforcement from local police departments all the way to the United States Department of Justice.
The FTC has a robust collection of data security information divided into ten segments. These segments follow and link to the appropriate page on the FTC site for more information.
- Start with security.
- Control access to data sensibly.
- Require secure passwords and authentication.
- Store sensitive personal information securely and protect it during transmission.
- Segment your network and monitor who’s trying to get in and out.
- Secure remote access to your network.
- Apply sound security practices when developing new products.
- Make sure your service providers implement reasonable security measures.
- Put procedures in place to keep your security current and address vulnerabilities that may arise.
- Secure paper, physical media, and devices.
In January 2015, President Obama gave some remarks at the Federal Trade Commission. He noted that the FTC was an invaluable asset to American consumers in taking back their stolen identities. He also told how banks and financial institutions are giving consumers free access to credit scores that will serve as an early warning system against identity theft thanks to joint efforts of the FTC and representatives of the banking industry.
During his remarks at the FTC, President Obama also discussed new laws that were enacted, in part, because of the influence of the FTC. One such law is the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.
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