In a recent blog post I talked about the new privacy breach notification requirements coming under PIPEDA this November 1. I said that perhaps the most challenging aspect is a requirement to maintain a “record of every breach of security safeguards involving personal information under its control.”
Why is that so challenging?
Many large companies already have this kind of procedure in place. But most business do not. Maintaining a record sounds easy. But this is not so simple when you think it through. First, the business must create a procedure and educate its staff to recognize breaches and report them to its privacy officer, even if they are not significant. No longer can the business rely on staff recognizing a breach because it is serious and obvious, or someone complains.
Then for each one the privacy officer must go through the analysis required under PIPEDA to determine if there is a “real risk of significant harm” that triggers a reporting requirement. The rationale for that decision must be recorded.
Why does it matter?
The Privacy Commissioner has the right to inspect any business’s breach record at any time. If a business does not report a breach when it is supposed to, or if they don’t keep a breach record, they can be subject to a fine of up to $100,000.
What you need to do about it.
Before November 1, every business subject to PIPEDA should put a breach recording procedure in place, educate their staff what a breach is, and how to report it to the privacy officer.