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Our personal data is not something we think about very much other than keeping PIN codes secure and some of us are surprisingly casual about that too, sharing PIN and passcodes for online banking and card transactions and to our social media accounts with family and friends. Yet few of us will have missed recent headlines about the massive data breach at Experian, perhaps better described as a "data giveaway", when it handed over the personal information of 24 million individuals and 800 000 businesses to a person fraudulently representing a legitimate client of Experion. Experion have apologised, indicated that all hardware on which the fraudulently obtained data was stored has been seized and the data was intended to be used for the creation of business leads only. Nonetheless many of us have received warning emails from our banks to be on the alert for unusual requests and to change our passcodes.

Blue Chip routinely use the credit bureau to establish financial fitness in the conclusion of residential leases. We also, as do all other estate agents, obtain data from various property and related bureau in order to prospect for leads. So how do we manage the data that we have?

In answering this question, it is important to distinguish between data security and data privacy.

 Data security is the process of protecting data from unauthorised access while data privacy focuses on the collection, processing, sharing and deletion of data in accordance with the law. Data cannot be simultaneously secured and used; this tension between use and encryption is an ongoing problem for software security providers. And hackers are always looking for the weak spot; Adobe, LinkedIn, eBay, Marriott International and MyFitnessPal have all been subject to massive data breaches affecting hundreds of millions if not billions of people.

Data privacy is equally important in that it encompasses security to the extent that any breach or non-compliance with legal requirements can tarnish a company's reputation (too soon to mention Experian?)

At Blue Chip we take both the legal obligation and our technical responsibility to protect our clients' data seriously. We employ security providers and routinely test our security against breach. We also do not share our clients' data either by sale to any third party or in any other way and this includes data that we may acquire through legitimate sources such as the credit bureau or property databases.

We have recently noticed an increased attempt to breach email correspondence particularly to request financial information or to divert payments and we would always urge you to exercise caution and check the email addresses are always correct in correspondence of this nature.

Author Bronwen woodward
Published 26 Aug 2020 / Views -
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