Archive for September, 2013

News: California Recycler Dumps Electronics, Keeps Cash

Last week, a CBS affiliate out of San Francisco reported that Dow Management (a third party, who is supposed to safely process the most toxic part of electronic waste: the leaded CRT glass) has skipped town, trashed and left behind hundreds of pounds of e-waste (in Arizona) and kept half a million dollars in public funds.

Consumers who buy a new TV or computer pay an extra fee to dispose of old electronics. But the owner of a company that disposes of electronic waste has made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees, and left behind quite a mess.

“Arizona has become a dumping ground. We have seen at least three warehouses chock full of this material and the owners have abandoned ship,” Jim Puckett, the founder of the Basel Action Network said.

 In the desert town of Yuma, glass from old TVs and monitors, called CRT or Cathode Ray Tube glass, have been abandoned in huge warehouses. “It’s got lead in the glass, it’s got toxic phosphors, this very thin powder all over this material, there is cadmium and lead compounds in that fine dust,” he said.

Currently, the state is now ordering eight California recyclers who sent their glass to Dow Management to clear out the warehouses in Yuma and truck it to a new processor, at their own expense.

“California’s e-waste recycling program pays California businesses to do the right thing, and if they don’t do the right thing, if they are caught, they will either not be paid or we will come after them and get our money back,” Jeff Hunts with CalRecycle said.

According to PC Survivors of Masschusetts CEO Lisa Bacewicz , “PCS is R2 Certified and has a closure plan  in place to ensure that this situation would never occur at our site.” So, there.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here

26

09 2013

News: Survey Reveals Low Compliance as Deadline for Healthcare Rule Approaches

The fine folks over at Coalfire, an IT GRC firm, recently released findings from a survey that shows business associates have limited understanding of their responsibilities under the new rule and fewer than half are currently compliant.

Covered entities and business associates in the healthcare industry have until September 23, 2013 to become compliant with the final HIPAA Omnibus Rule that took effect in March.

According to the survey, “fewer than half reported they are currently compliant with the final Omnibus Rule” and “very few admitted to signing a Business Associate Agreement (BAA), which is required by the final Omnibus Rule.”

You can find more information about Coalfire’s survey and the final Omnibus Rule on The Coalfire Blog, but here are a few of the survey findings:

– Roughly one-third of the business associates interviewed said they have been asked to sign a new Business Associate Agreement (BAA).

– A majority of business associates reported being somewhat or completely unaware of their new responsibilities under the final Omnibus Rule.

– More than half of business associates said they have assessed compliance with the final Omnibus Rule.

– Fewer than half of business associates report they are compliant with the Omnibus Rule.

– On the positive side, most business associates have a process in place and are set up to report a data breach as required by the Omnibus Rule.

 

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here

17

09 2013

Data Destruction: Sensitive Documents Dumped

Interesting story out of Atlanta last year, in which hundreds of sensitive documents were found in a dumpster. 11 News has the full story and video, which is also embedded below. But here’s a summary:

A concerned citizen called our newsroom after seeing paperwork blowing out of an open, collapsible dumpster behind First Citizens Bank.

Elizabeth Newsom was walking to a grocery store and said she walked over for a closer look. That just made her angry.

“It’s disgraceful that someone would leave personal information out here for anyone and everyone to look at. What if someone uses it for identity theft?” Newsom said.

The documents appeared to be from a local real estate agency and contained tax ID numbers, along with copies of personal checks with bank account numbers on them.

Turns out, 11 Alive News contacted Atlanta Police and officers appeared within minutes to secure the documents. The name on the dumped real estate signs and most of the paperwork is Dorsey Alston Realtors. According to the story, as the newsteam were making calls about the ditched documents, two men showed up with pickups and took away what was left in the collapsible dumpster.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here

13

09 2013

12 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

Last year, upwards of 16 million households were victims of identity theft. With much of our personal information readily available online, it’s becoming easier for thieves to use your information for their gain. Recently, AARP released a handy list of things you can do to cut down the likelihood you’ll be an ID theft victim.

1. Get off mailing lists for pre-approved credit cards offers – a gold mine for identity thieves. Visit optoutprescreen.com or call toll free 888-567-8688. To stop other junk mail go to dmachoice.org.

2. Enroll for free alerts from your bank and credit card issuers to flag unusual activity on your accounts.

3. Ask your credit card provider to issue you new “smart cards” with safer EMV chip technology. If they’re unavailable, request replacement plastic with your photograph.

4. To safeguard personal data on your electronic devices, use a smartphone password that isn’t 1234, 0000, 2580, 1111, 0r 5555 – some of the most easily hacked. Set your smartphone on auto-lock, Make computer passwords at least 12 characters long. Use uppercase and lowercase lertters, numbers, and symbols such as # and %. Use different passwords on different accounts and change them every few months.

5. If you don’t plan to apply for new credit, loans, insurance or utility services, freeze your report so crooks can’t get new accounts in your name. Rules vary by state, but most have a $5 to $20 fee and is often waived if you are 65 or older or provide proof of past identity theft. Type “security freeze” at the websites of Experian, Equifax and Transunion for instructions. A fraud alert is always free but not as effective.

6. Mail outgoing payments from a U.S. Postal Service mailbox or the post office, not from your more vulnerable home mailbox.

7. Shred unneeded documents that contain personal information. Most major cities have reputable companies that provide free shredding days. These shredders are far superior to any home models, as most will cross-shred and dump into a liquid solution.

8. Ask if your Internet provider offers free antivirus software. Set it for automatic security updates and a weekly full scan.

9. Set up your Internet service so that it does not broadcast your connection, also known as stealth mode. This prevents scammers from finding your connection when scanning. They can’t hack it if they can’t find it.

10. Never click on links in emails from strangers, or those purporting to be a government agency or your bank warning of a “problem.” The likely result is that identity-stealing malware will be installed on your computer. The more prudent thing to do is, if you receive an email from someone you don’t know and it has links trash it. If it’s from someone you do know, call him or her and ask if they sent the email with the link before clicking on the link.

11. Only carry your social security card for visits to the Social Security offices. If you have Medicare (not to be confused with Medicaid), only carry that card for planned doctor or hospital visits. Don’t worry, you’ll get emergency treatment without it, but if you’re a worry-wart, then photocopy it with several of the digits blacked out.

12. Never provide personal information such as Social Security number to anyone unless you initiate contact.

Most of these steps were provided courtesy of Sid Kirchheimer, the author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP Books/Sterling. 

 

10

09 2013

Recycling News: NAID board initiates investigation after Iron Mountain settlement

NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) recently announced an investigation of Iron Mountain and Shred-it, searching for possible Code of Ethics violations. The decision comes after a $1.1 million settlement stemming from non-compliance allegations against the companies.

From the release:

…the NAID Board of Directors has instructed the association’s Complaint Resolution Council to immediately initiate investigation(s) of the facts to determine the existence of any NAID Code of Ethics violations. Cintas, who is also named in the related lawsuit, continues to dispute the charges. The Complaint Resolution Council cannot investigate ongoing legal actions; therefore, Cintas will not be included in these investigations. Pending the outcome of that legal action, the Complaint Resolution Council will evaluate the need for any investigation at such time.

In early July, Iron Mountain and Shred-it separately entered into settlements with the U.S. government totaling $1.1 million July 9, stemming from allegations of contractual non-compliance by a competitor. Even after the settlement, both Iron Mountain and Shred-it have continued to deny the allegations, pointing out the government never intervened in the matter.

“It is understandable that the board would be concerned about these allegations,” said NAID CEO Bob Johnson. “A formal investigation is an appropriate course of action in this situation.”

You can check out our previous post about the Iron Mountain settlement here.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here

10

09 2013

Data Destruction: HITECH modifications to HIPAA are coming Sept. 23

As of Sept. 23, the new Amendments to HIPAA, (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), recently passed by Congress will take effect. The new changes include a dramatic increase in liabilities related to improper disposal of health care information.

According to National Association of Information Destruction’s research, many health care professionals remain unaware of the dramatic new liabilities created by the HITECH modifications to HIPAA.

Medical practitioners are now legally required to alert authorities and patients when their personal information has been put at risk. According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, HIPAA fines were increased from a maximum of $25,000 to $1,500,000.

That’s where we come in. PC Survivors of Mass provides an all shred program and can ensure that all material is properly and securely safeguarded, collected, removed, and destroyed. We process your secure data and electronics properly the first time.

You can find more on the new HIPAA changes here via this PR Web article. But here’s a snippet:

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here

 

 

02

09 2013

Study: Electronics Recycling Could Produce 42,000 New Jobs Next Year

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According to a report funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the electronic waste in landfills could produce roughly 42,000 new jobs, both directly and indirectly, and almost $800 million in new payroll for Americans next year.

According to a recent release posted on the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, DSM Environmental Services performed a study for the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER) to estimate the number of jobs associated with e-waste recycling in the United States.

Citing the EPA report, DSM found that 1.2 billion pounds of electronics were recycled in 2011, and 4.8 billion pounds of e-waste were generated that year.

 You can find the entire, incredibly comprehensive study here.  Here’s two  little excerpts summarizing what they were looking for, how they looked for it and what they found.

DSM surveyed 21 of 67 CAER members engaged in electronics recycling representing 89 of 163 physical locations. The survey asked for three  critical pieces of information from each company – employment, payroll, and annual throughput for the most recent year, as well as a breakdown of employment and throughput for the different activities undertaken within each facility.

Their conclusion:

Assuming that CAER members processed 1.2 billion pounds of material in 2011, the US EPA funded report suggests that another 3.6 billion pounds of e-waste are being landfilled, processed by other domestic recycling companies or exported. This additional 3.6 billion pounds of e-waste represents a potential
21,000 full time equivalent recycling jobs with a corresponding payroll of $772.9 million. Assuming a typical multiplier of 2, these direct recycling jobs would result in another 21,000 indirect and induced jobs, for a total of 42,000 jobs.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here

02

09 2013

Recycling News: NAID to Study Solid State Drive Sanitization

In a recent article on Recycling Today it was announced that starting this week, the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), Phoenix, will begin accepting applications from service providers and software developers that wish to be considered for the applied research study on the efficacy of solid state drive (SSD) sanitization solutions.

Applications will be accepted through Sept. 30. The NAID SSD Research Task Force will then select six applicants to participate in the study.

“The task force has put together a structured methodology for the project,” task force co-chair Angie Singer Keating of Reclamere Inc., Tyrone, Pa., says. “It is designed to test the real-world application of SSD sanitization techniques while rigorously sticking to established research protocols as well as protecting the interests of the participants. The intent of the research is not to validate or approve any proprietary sanitization product or process. The task force will never see the results from any individual participant. Only the participants themselves will see how they stacked up against the aggregated study results.”

According to the article, the organization says it intends to use the findings to refine its position on SSD sanitization as well as to provide guidance to the NAID Certification Rules Committee, NAID staff and consumers. NAID says it will publish the study’s aggregated findings, giving practical and regulatory context to results.

NAID commissioned Dr. Steven Swanson to conduct the research. Swanson has been published among the most referenced studies on SSD sanitization and is considered an expert in the industry, NAID says.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data

01

09 2013

Recycling News: House Introduces Electronic Waste Recycling Bill

Recently, The U.S. House introduced an electronic waste recycling bill prohibiting the exporting of some e-waste to avoid improper disposal. According to an article over at Waste 360, the new bill (H.R. 2791, the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2013 (RERA), would create a new section in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) that prohibits the export of “restricted electronic waste” from the United States to countries that are not members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) or the European Union (EU).

Restricted electronic equipment means any equipment that contains specific toxic materials at levels greater than those considered non-hazardous by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a news release from the House of Representatives.

In addition, the proposed legislation would create a research program at the Department of Energy to help evaluate the recycling and recovery of rare earth metals from electronics.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (California) and Gene Green (Texas). With the bill, tested and working equipment could still be exported for reuse. Products also still could be exported for warranty repair or because of recall.

“Each year, millions of tons of e-waste are discarded in the U.S. and shipped to developing nations for unsafe salvage and recovery,” Thompson said. “By carefully regulating the export of e-waste, this bipartisan legislation creates good-paying recycling jobs here in the U.S., while taking concrete steps to address a growing environmental and health crisis.”

The legislation is supported by the electronics industry, including official backing from Hewlett Packard, Dell, Apple, Samsung and Best Buy. It is also supported by the recycling industry, including the Coalition For American Electronics Recyclers (CAER).

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data

01

09 2013