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No to Identity Theft

(Image - paper Shredder)We are all aware of the dangers of identity theft. Each one of us needs to be vigilant at all times to ensure that important personal information does not get into the wrong hands. This issue is of great importance to us as individuals, to government, and to industry. Here at SLAC, we must take every measure to eliminate the possibility of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) leaking from our lab. To accomplish this goal, I am asking all employees to determine if they are in possession of PII and, if so, to have them take aggressive steps to protect this very private information. Some of the most obvious examples of PII are Social Security Numbers, places of birth, dates of birth and medical history information. A definition of PII can be found here.

Very few people at the lab need to be in possession of PII information.

If electronic records of PII need to be kept, they should be stored on the Z drive where they can be properly protected. Information on the Z drive, while you may have access to it, is not "in your possession." By contrast, PII on local disks, desktop computers, laptops, flash drives and hard disks are "in your possession" and therefore should either be removed or transferred to the Z drive. In limited situations, the business needs associated with your job duties will require that you get an exception to allow you to retain PII on your local media.

Please be aware that removing data records is not as simple as pushing the delete key, as this still leaves traces on your computer. Information on special software designed to permanently delete data records will be provided shortly to all employees. Paper records which include PII should be shredded unless it is entirely necessary to keep them. Please read the list of PII protection guidelines, which includes measures that you should take to protect paper records. Also, the list of some common paper and electronic forms that could include PII is available here.

Reducing our vulnerability to identity theft at SLAC is a very important goal and I thank you in advance for your cooperation to make it happen now.

—Jonathan Dorfan
    SLAC Today, August 23, 2006