The verdict against Los Angeles County (for the sharing by first responders of photos of the tragic accident which took the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant and companions) raises important data security, privacy and compliance issues.
Josh Bohls, Founder and CEO, Inkscreen weighed in on the privacy and compliance implications of the situation.
“This is a major but under-examined data security, HIPAA compliance and privacy issue. Law enforcement and first responders to a crime scene should understand that the photos, videos, and evidence they capture and collect are extremely sensitive on multiple levels. In a sensational case such as the tragic loss of Kobe and Gianna Bryant and their companions, the stakes are even higher. We can hope that the judgement to award mother and widow Vanessa Bryant and other families who experienced this tragic loss will ultimately spur some change both in policy and in the technical way that digital evidence is captured, managed, and protected.
The fact is that we’re now 15 years into the smart mobile and social networking era, and the data leakage prevention (DLP) technology and applications to ensure content can be securely captured and managed, and that prevents unauthorized sharing of photos, documents and other sensitive data on responders’ personal devices has existed for at least 10 years. Every Federal, state and local first responder agency should mandate the use of such technology. It’s a safe guess that 99.99% of responders would never dream of violating a victim’s or family’s privacy at their most tragic moments, but how many of that .001% does that leave to do such social harm?
Mrs. Bryant and all who lost loved ones in this accident have suffered immeasurable loss. Whether intended or not, Mrs. Bryan has emerged as a voice for the otherwise voiceless parents and loved ones of victims whose anguish is compounded every time their loved one’s image is shared or re-shared. And once those images are ‘in the wild’ re-sharing by non-responders is all but inevitable. Incredibly sad – but so easily preventable.” ###