Last week, a press conference announced the results of a NAID-Canada investigation into the amount of confidential information available in commercial dumpsters led to an appearance on the country’s most-watched morning show, reports during the local 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock TV news broadcasts, and stories in every major Toronto newspaper.
During the months of September and October, acting on commission by NAID-Canada, one of the most respected international private investigative firms, The Investigators Group, covertly examined the contents of 50 publicly accessible commercial dumpsters to learn how much personal information was being casually discarded.
The results, which will be summarized in the December 2010 edition of NAID news, were surprising and troubling. For instance, 3 out of 4 doctors’ offices were found to contain personal information, in one case affecting as many as 30 patients. In addition, both automobile dealerships’ dumpsters that were examined contained personal information, including copies of drivers’ licenses, social insurance numbers and other personal information.
“We proved a lot with this exercise,” says NAID CEO Bob Johnson. “First, we know there is still a lot of educating to do. We know that smaller organizations, particularly doctors’ offices are ripe for our marketing efforts. And, we know that properly structured and publicized, the major media outlets are hungry for this type of information.” Johnson concludes, “Studies like this in major markets in the US and around the world will give us good marketing intelligence, attract media attention to the issue, and provide the regulators with a benchmark for how their constituents are complying with data destruction requirements. There will be more of these in the not too distant future.”