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Privacy and Confidentiality In the Field of Security and Customer Service

Privacy is the control over the extent, timing, and circumstances of sharing oneself (physically, behaviorally, or intellectually) with others (University of California, Irvine).

Cambridge University defines privacy as “The right that someone has to keep their personal life or personal information secret or known only to a small group of people” (Cambridge University Press).

Confidentiality pertains to the treatment of information that an individual has disclosed in a relationship of trust and, expecting it will not be divulged to others without permission in ways that are inconsistent with the understanding of the original disclosure (University of California, Irvine).

Cambridge University defines confidentiality as “The fact of private information being kept secret, often in a formal, business, or military situation” (Cambridge University Press).

Privacy is…
  • About people
  • A sense of being in control of access that others have to ourselves
  • A right to be protected
Confidentiality is…
  • About identifiable data
  • An extension of privacy
  • An agreement about maintenance and who has access to identifiable data
Why it is important to maintain confidentiality in the workplace?
Maintaining confidentiality in the workplace is important for building and maintaining trust, and for ensuring open and honest communication between customers, clients, and employees.

What might happen if confidentiality or privacy is breached?
  • Disciplinary action by the employer
  • Legal action against the company
  • Fine or penalty
  • Loss of sales
  • Loss of trust and confidence
How to protect customers’ privacy and confidentiality? 
  • Use a secure file-sharing and messaging platform
  • Store physical documents in an environment with controlled access
  • Secure non-digital data
  • Host routine security training for staff
  • Know what data Is needed
  • Limit what data Is collected
  • Don’t share on social media sensitive or work-related information
  • Don’t tell family and friends about what happens at work
  • Don’t tell coworkers who don’t have the privilege to know
Here are some examples of ways we could unintentionally break confidentiality:
  • Sharing confidential information about a client/coworker with a family member or friend
  • Talking about confidential information somewhere we can be overheard
  • Leaving our computer containing confidential information open to others
  • Continuing to work with a client when there’s a conflict of interests
  • When permission to share information is given but isn’t specific, this can create confusion and result in a potential breach

Cover image by Nick Youngson

Fahad Hizam alHarbi

Private Investigator based in Mexico, multilingual and certified. CFI, CPO, CFCS, CAMS.
I specialize in money laundering, corruption, and fraud. I write about crime, literature, travel, and sport.
Contact me through here or on social media for any investigative project in Mexico or Latin America.

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