Revised Generally Accepted Privacy Principles seek to curtail identity theft

 

Responding to a spike in identity theft and increasing storage of  personal information on portable devices, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants have expanded Generally Accepted Privacy Principles to include protocols for securing personal information.
 
Nearly 10 million Americans are victims of identity theft annually, according to the Federal Trade Commission.  The estimated cost in 2008 was $48 billion.  Increasing incidences of corporate privacy breaches have resulted in a greater number of lawsuits, consumer backlash and regulatory actions, including fines.  More than ever, customers today expect their personal data to be protected.
 
"Safeguarding personal information is one of the most challenging responsibilities facing an organization, whether that information pertains to employees or customers," said Everett C. Johnson, CPA, chair of AICPA/CICA Privacy Task Force and a past international president of ISACA, a global information technology association.  "We've updated the criteria of our privacy principles to minimize the risks to personal information." 
 
The AICPA/CICA Generally Accepted Privacy Principles are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and other organizations.  The privacy framework offers guidance and best practices on securing portable devices, breach management and ensuring continued effectiveness of privacy controls.  The guidance covers disposal and destruction of personal information.  The principles are designed for chief privacy officers, executive management, compliance officers, legal counsel and CPAs offering technology advisory services.
 
 "Portable tools such as laptops, memory sticks, two-way pagers and smart phones provide convenience to employees, but appropriate measures must be put in place to secure them and the data they contain," said Donald Sheehy, CA.CISA, CIPP/C, associate partner with Deloitte (Canada) and a member of the AICPA/CICA Privacy Task Force.  "We must stay abreast of technological advances to ensure that proper measures are put into place to defend against new threats."
 
Created by the AICPA/CICA Privacy Task Force, Generally Accepted Privacy Principles are designed to help managements assess existing privacy programs and address privacy obligations and risks.  The principles provide a framework for CPAs and CAs to offer privacy services to their clients and employers, such as advisory services, privacy risk assessments and attestation or audits. 
 
Several organizations worked in conjunction with the AICPA and CICA on Generally Accepted Privacy Principles, including ISACA and the Institute of Internal Auditors.  It is available in two versions, one for business management and one for CPAs and CAs in public practice who provide consulting and attestation/audit services.
 
The mission of the Privacy Task Force is to examine the role CPAs and CAs can play in advising clients and employers about privacy issues and risks and to create a benchmark for good privacy practices.  Introduced in 2003, Generally Accepted Privacy Principles were updated previously in 2006.
 
Copies of the principles along with additional privacy resources are available at www.aicpa.org/privacy.
 

You may like these other stories...

With complex financial issues playing a larger role in litigation, and people increasingly turning to CPA experts to involve themselves in everything from criminal investigations to shareholder disputes to uncovering assets...
And down the stretch they come!No, it’s not the thoroughbreds charging toward the finish line in the Kentucky Derby, but the millions of US taxpayers who have yet to file their individual income tax returns before the...
There is increased optimism about the US economy among business executives, as more are anticipating modest growth in recruitment, staff training, and targeted capital spending in the next year, according to results of a new...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.