Personal Data as Toxic Waste

Holly Towle, an attorney specializing in electronic commerce, offers 10 principles for handling toxic waste, or personally identifying information (PII). Each of these is addressed in depth in her article (Towle, 2009):

1. Do not touch it unless you have to;

2. If you have to touch it, learn how or whether to do so – mistakes can be fatal or at least seriously damaging;

3. Do not use normal methods to transport (transfer) it;

4. Attempt to crack the whip over contractor handling it;

5. Do not store some of it at all;

6. Store what you need but in a manner avoiding spills, and limit access;

7. Be alert for suspicious odors and other red flags;

8. Report spills to the relevant people and agencies;

9. Dispose of it only by special means; and

10. Get ready to be sued or incur often unreasonable expenses no matter how much care you take.

More info here.



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