Sarasota, FL (CompNewsNetwork Editorial) – The announcement today that the New York Workers' Compensation Board “now allows documents related to claims for compensation to be filed with the Board as email attachments” gives me tremendous concern, not so much for what it says but for what it fails to say. The NYWCB is clearly looking to provide an improved service, but I seriously question the wisdom of this particular action.
Standard email is by no means a secure method to transmit critical, sometimes highly sensitive data. Unless an email transmission is secured with acceptable encryption methods, it is potentially accessible to prying eyes with less than honorable intent. Encrypted email is considered safe, but only works if both parties, sender and receiver, have access to the same “key” to encode and authenticate messages. The New York WCB announcement makes no such mention of encryption, and clearly it is not set up to be so protected.
To be fair, the announcement, which may be read here, mentions forms that do not contain the most critical elements necessary for identity thieves, such as birth date and social security numbers. However, the program allows for all documents related to a claim. Specifically, it reads:
Multiple forms or documents for an individual claimant may be submitted as separate attachments or as one attachment containing multiple documents. Whenever possible, a single attachment should contain no more than 25 pages.
These documents could include court documents, medical records and more, any of which could contain critical, personal data; the transmission of which, in my view, exposes said claimant to unacceptable risk. The NYWCB makes no mention or provides no guidelines about documents containing such sensitive data, and I think the likelihood of the average adjustor in the industry understanding the risks is very small.
I call on the New York Workers' Compensation Board to, at minimum, clarify the security policies and measures in place regarding the email address they provided. At most, they should consider an entirely different method to accomplish an otherwise worthy goal. A secure, web-based upload submission portal makes much more sense in my view.
In the absence of such action, I strongly urge those dealing with New York claims NOT to utilize the new claim document email submission system.
For more information about keeping your email private and secure, check out this article.
About The Author:
Bob Wilson has been President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, LLC since its inception in 1999. He has over 17 years experience in the technology arena, including Internet business solutions and website architecture and development. Additionally Bob has extensive business management, technical recruiting and human resource experience. He is a resident of Sarasota, Florida, and holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO.