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Test Your Privacy Knowledge

A Privacy Rights Clearinghouse/Computerworld quiz

March 15, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld -

Many privacy abuses are the result of errors and carelessness by those who handle personal information. Some are caused by inadequate security. Responsible information-handling practices begin with the development of privacy policies in the workplace and the implementation of regular training programs.

Take this quiz to test your knowledge of legal requirements and best practices in responsible information handling. To learn more about these and other issues, visit the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

1. HIPAA regulations require that privacy notices be written at a ninth-grade reading level.


2. Does the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act restrict financial firms, such as banks, brokerage houses and insurance companies, from sharing information among affiliated companies?


3. Under HIPAA, the federal medical privacy rule, a patient whose privacy has been violated has the right to sue the health care provider.


4. What types of personal medical information does HIPAA not cover?

Mental health and medical laboratories' records

Workers' compensation, life insurance company records and records from agencies that deliver Social Security and welfare benefits

A pharmacy's records about patient prescriptions and dentist and health insurance companies' records

5. Which states require that companies dispose of documents securely in order to prevent disclosure to "Dumpster divers" and others who don't have a legitimate right of access by shredding paper, "wiping" electronic files and destroying computer diskettes, CD-ROMs and hard drives?

New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota

California, Georgia and Wisconsin

6. Which state requires companies to notify customers and/or employees in case of computer security breaches involving sensitive personal information?

New York






7. What's being done when a record is "severed"?

A. The entire record is closed out and destroyed

B. Nonessential and personally identifiable information is removed from the record before it is disclosed to a third party

C. The record is coded within the database so that only those employees with a legitimate need to know have access to it.

8. According to recent surveys, approximately how many victims of identity theft are there in the U.S. each year?


5 million

1 million

10 million

9. When contracting with a document-destruction company to retrieve and dispose of any paper and other trash containing personal information, what important qualification should you look for?

A. The company is bonded.

B. The company certifies with a signed, dated document that the material has been properly destroyed.

C. The company conducts criminal background checks of its employees.

D. The company's employees sign a confidentiality agreement.

E. The document destruction company allows unannounced visits so its clients can audit its practices.

F. All of the above.

10. Recycling of paper refuse is a legitimate alternative to having it shredded.


Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

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