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Blogging background checking and security issues

4.07.2005

Japan – Companies Forced to Disclose Database Use

A new law in Japan will require companies that hold personal information in databases for over 5,000 people will be required to tell those individuals why it is keeping their information. It has its critics, but is a big step toward ensuring the privacy rights of individuals.

What would this look like in the U.S.? If the popularity of the No Call Registry is any indication, it would be embraced with open arms by the general public. People generally like to protect their own privacy, and being made aware of how many companies actually hold their personal information would probably result in a public outcry. The ones who would disagree with it, obviously, would be the companies holding the information.

In the background checking industry, this kind of law would have far-reaching effects. For example, databases kept by companies like National Background Data allow background screening companies to identify where an individual has lived in the past. This information is invaluable for knowing where to look for criminal records.

I assume that such a law excludes government agencies. Our criminal system has public access to its records as a key component and I don’t see that changing in the near future. If it did, the background checking industry as we know it would no longer exist.

I’m curious - does anyone see this kind of legislation ever passing in the U.S.?

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