Ridiculous data leak (but translators see this stuff all the time)
Thread poster: Elizabeth Adams

Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:16
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
Oct 6, 2011

A New York Times article today explains how medical data on thousands of hospital patients ended up on a sketchy website: a project manager emailed the data to a job candidate and asked her to turn it into graphs and charts to prove she could do it. The job candidate posted all the data online asking others to help her figure out the task.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/us/stanford-hospital-patient-data-breach-is-detailed.html?hpw

How many times have agencies (sometimes folks you haven't even heard of) sent you files with sensitive information asking for a quote?

Agencies that scrub their files before sending them on seem to be rare, and I am always impressed with the ones that do.


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Silvia Zele
Slovenia
Local time: 05:16
Slovenian to English
+ ...
Thanks for your useful example Oct 7, 2011

It seems that a number of people, who are in charge of outsourcing translations for their companies, do not understand how translation companies operate. There seems to be a misconception that all translators working for a translation company are working on-site, have the correct qualifications and/or skills, have signed confidentiality contracts, and understand business ethics.

Cases, such as the one you have cited, serve as a useful reminder to us about our value to individuals and companies. Client confidentiality is so important, and is a reason why people outsourcing should take care to ascertain who exactly will be working on the translations of their more sensitive files, and how many people will have access to those files. If they understood how TM databases are sometimes generated, managed, and shared amongst groups of translators, and how many people put sections of a text into online translating programs without removing identifying information, they would probably be even more concerned.


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MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:16
French to English
+ ...
Common Sense! Oct 7, 2011

Such sloppy behavior is inexcusable, whether it be companies, agencies, individuals.
The lack of attention that some people pay to the confidential material they handle is truly mind boggling.
Having said that, the fact remains, that translation, or interpreting for that matter are professions that demand the highest respect for confidentiality. It is everyone’s responsibility to maintain confidentiality where necessary.


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Miranda Drew  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:16
Italian to English
not surprising Oct 7, 2011

It amazes me too how many end clients see agencies advertising "500 mother-tongue" translators" and then expect that all the translators are working in-house, and information won't get sent by email....

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Dragomir Kovacevic  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:16
Italian to Serbian
+ ...
And what about... Oct 7, 2011

How come you start quoting a case related to behaviour of a single translator and add a web link for it, and then you reverse the sock, speaking about translation agencies?

What was your point? To accuse agencies of revealing confidential and sensible data, rather than reverting your criticism to free-lance translators who reveal and breach them constantly, using web-assisted translation, for example, or using free email servers? What about them?

Rgd, Dragomir Kovacevic

Elizabeth Adams wrote:

A New York Times article today explains how medical data on thousands of hospital patients ended up on a sketchy website: a project manager emailed the data to a job candidate and asked her to turn it into graphs and charts to prove she could do it. The job candidate posted all the data online asking others to help her figure out the task.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/us/stanford-hospital-patient-data-breach-is-detailed.html?hpw

How many times have agencies (sometimes folks you haven't even heard of) sent you files with sensitive information asking for a quote?

Agencies that scrub their files before sending them on seem to be rare, and I am always impressed with the ones that do.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 05:16
German to English
+ ...
A translator? Oct 7, 2011

the original cotnribution has nothing to do with translation (a "job candidate" not a translator) but rather with the risk of data getting into the wrong hands through the use of cloud computing.

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Dragomir Kovacevic  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:16
Italian to Serbian
+ ...
how come? Oct 7, 2011

we are translators here, or arn't we?

and then, it seems you didn't read the 2/2 of the original post.

David Wright wrote:

the original cotnribution has nothing to do with translation (a "job candidate" not a translator) but rather with the risk of data getting into the wrong hands through the use of cloud computing.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 05:16
English to Czech
+ ...
NDA Oct 7, 2011

Elizabeth Adams wrote:

How many times have agencies (sometimes folks you haven't even heard of) sent you files with sensitive information asking for a quote?


Most clients (not only translation agencies) I work with require an NDA.


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Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:16
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
good points Oct 7, 2011

1. NDA - Yes, they do use them, but many times I receive an NDA only AFTER the complete initial file was sent for my review.
2. Translators' responsibility - Of course we have a responsibility not to jeopardize the data we handle, but the agency is the first point of contact for the client. It makes sense for data to get scrubbed at the agency before being sent to multiple translators. Again, I've seen it all - from the names, addresses and medical complaints of hundreds of individuals to the private cell phone numbers of CEOs. And it all came from agencies, not direct clients. Once I've signed an NDA I figure the agency has a right to trust me. But when the files are mass e-mailed to collect quotes with no NDAs in place?


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Ridiculous data leak (but translators see this stuff all the time)

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