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Privacy

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1. Searching for privacy  

BY J. Carlton Collins, CPA
Q: I’ve heard that search engines such as Google and Yahoo! keep a record of your searches and the websites you visit and that they often share this personal information with other companies. I don’t do anything illicit on the internet, but I’m still not comfortable with these search engines recording my every move.

2. Substantiating trust  

BY J. Carlton Collins, CPA
Q: When introduced to new privacy solutions (such as DuckDuckGo or Disconnect), what assurances do we have that these solutions aren’t themselves stealthily tracking our computing or internet activities?A: Before trusting a lesser-known privacy solution, at a minimum make sure that it meets the following criteria:The company makes definitive public statements confirming it will not collect your data (which could subject it to lawsuits if it does).The company undergoes annual or periodic security audits by reputable auditors, and those findings are made public.The company is endorsed by well-known, high-profile companies that have a vested interest in protecting

3. Harnessing the power of the cloud  

BY Jeff Drew
Technology continues to transform the accounting profession. Cloud computing and mobile devices have untethered CPAs from their desks and desktops, allowing them to do work and access data on a virtually anytime, anywhere basis. Technology continues to break down geographic and market barriers, creating unprecedented opportunities for CPA firms and for CPAs in business and industry.

4. Six cybersecurity basics   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The steady barrage of headlines about cybersecurity underscores a topic viewed with wary eyes by many executives, board members, and investors.Employees may have access to sensitive data through smartphones that they carry everywhere. Globalization has increased the geographic reach of companies – making them visible to ever more hackers.And those hackers are constantly getting more sophisticated.“They’re changing techniques at lightning speed,” Marcus Prendergast, the chief information security officer of electronic brokerage and financial technology firm ITG said Wednesday.

5. Use data privacy to gain a competitive advantage   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Data privacy doesn’t have to be an issue that keeps executives awake at night.Instead, companies that approach data privacy the right way can use it to differentiate themselves, said Carolyn Holcomb, CPA, the leader of PwC’s data protection and privacy practice in the United States.“We see companies that are saying, ‘I can use this as a competitive advantage.

6. Cybersecurity: 2013 is already “the year of the hack”   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Many organizations are unprepared to protect themselves against an emerging, relentless cybersecurity danger that threatens national security and economic stability, according to a new global survey. Advanced persistent threats (APTs) are not easily deterred, which makes them different from traditional threats, according to global IT association ISACA. But an ISACA survey of more than 1,500 security professionals found that 53% of respondents do not believe APTs differ from traditional threats.

7. Stopping tax identity theft: Practical advice for CPAs and clients   CPEDirect

BY Valrie Chambers, CPA, Ph.D., and Rabih Zeidan, CPA, Ph.D.
Tax return and other tax-related identity theft is a growing problem that CPAs can help their clients with—both in taking preventive actions and in correcting problems after an identity thief has struck. Tax return identity theft occurs when someone uses a taxpayer’s personal information, such as name and Social Security number (SSN), without permission to commit fraud on tax returns to claim refunds or other credits to which a taxpayer is not entitled, or for other crimes.

8. Three IT challenges to watch for in 2013   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The global information systems organization ISACA is urging businesses to prepare for tough decisions in the year ahead in three areas: data privacy, cloud computing, and increasingly complex cyber-threats. Interest in private or hybrid (public/private) cloud solutions is expected to grow because of information security concerns, according to ISACA.

9. S.C. taxpayers’ Social Security numbers, credit cards hacked   WebExclusive

BY Paul Bonner
The South Carolina Department of Revenue is providing affected taxpayers a year of credit monitoring after a hacker stole information including 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers from its computer systems. State revenue officials announced Friday that the S.C. Division of Information Technology learned of the electronic intrusion on Oct.

10. What's your privacy IQ?  

BY Nancy A. Cohen, CPA/CITP, CGMA, and Marilyn Prosch, Ph.D.
Maintaining the privacy and protection of customers’ and employees’ personal information is a risk management issue for all organizations. The increase in identity theft is also a concern for all organizations. Laws and regulations continue to place requirements on businesses for the protection of personal data. Myriad laws and regulations address privacy concerns and the collection, use, disclosure, and disposal of personally identifiable information.
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