Poor data hygiene
Thread poster: ExScientiaVera

ExScientiaVera
Faroe Islands
Local time: 11:35
Danish to English
+ ...
May 20, 2013

I recently submitted a turnkey bid on a project posted on Proz.com.
I submitted the bid after receiving the entire file, which was extremely personal information.
I was then contacted, sans a bid, by a second company, with the exact same job, and the exact same file.
I also am the only guy here who can translate this pair.
I wont translate this project for less than my turnkey rate, and I also am wondering what should I do regarding the data hygiene?


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:35
French to English
+ ...
Mainly, make sure your house in order at YOUR end May 20, 2013

ExScientiaVera wrote:
I wont translate this project for less than my turnkey rate, and I also am wondering what should I do regarding the data hygiene?


Whether there's "actually a problem" here is really a bit difficult to judge without more information. Two companies have sent you the same confidential file, but you (presumably) don't know what agreement or understanding the end client had with those companies. (If the file was extremely confidential, nobody would be sending it by unencrypted e-mail to anybody.)

It is usual for confidential files to be sent to an agency's *known* translators before finalising the details of the quote. It's a little unusual for an agency to send a very confidential file to an *unknown* translator before agreeing to some sort of contract (even if that is just an exchange of e-mails in which it is understood that 'usual protocol applies'). So you'll have to weigh that up in judging their general professionalism. (If concerned, you could always ask them what confidentiality agreement they reached with the client.)

I would focus on getting things in order your side:

- if confidential material was sent to you erroneously, delete it immediately to the extent that you reasonably can (your e-mail system's "delete" function; the "delete" function on any copies on your computer, without leaving it knocking around in the recycle bin)
- for local storage of client files, consider storing them in some kind password protected area, ideally encrypted (I generally store all my client files in a TrueCrypt volume, for example)

It's all about taking reasonable, practical steps.


 

ExScientiaVera
Faroe Islands
Local time: 11:35
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It is a serious issue May 20, 2013

The data is enough to directly register a company, take a loan, access bank accounts, and it is possible as early as the next minute change the deposit account for tax refunds with the local tax authority. The breach became dangerous for the client when a sub-contractor started contacting locals who have nothing to do with translation; a woman literally at the other end of the café received a job offer, and so did a local business man.
And so did a woman well known for fraud and theft.
This is a small society and the moment the sub-contractor became sloppy, the information spread like wildfire. The client is in immediate danger.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:35
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
You do live in a strange place... May 20, 2013

...this is what i thought reading this story, plus the previous one:
http://www.proz.com/forum/scams/248708-offered_a_sizable_advance_dodgy.html

Both stories are a bit cryptic and leave a lot to the reader's imagination.
If these stories are real, my only advice would be to stay away.
In addition, if you witness something illegal being done, report it to the appropriate authorities.


 

ExScientiaVera
Faroe Islands
Local time: 11:35
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
conclusion to this case May 20, 2013

It is a strange place, but the smaller a place is, the number of strings one can pull does not go down. Scams are rare, but favors that I am not used to are common. In this case, there were no local companies involved. Update on the other case, the client is new to language services and is a bit of a maverick in business. He will be entering the industry as a translator too.
In this case, I told the agency that posted the job their client has been exposed, explained what data not to reveal and explained I would tell the local tax authority about the exposure. Then I will delete all documents related to this case. Unlike such data in Denmark or Norway, this data should be kept confidential at all times.
And it is intentionally cryptic; I won't complain about poor data hygiene then talk about potential clients by name. I said just enough to eixplain the situation and ask for advice, which I needed.

[Edited at 2013-05-20 21:16 GMT]


 


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