The European Commission and the United States have agreed on a new framework for transatlantic data flows: the EU-US Privacy Shield – Strasbourg, 2 February 2016
The College of Commissioners have approved the political agreement reached and are preparing the necessary steps to put in place the new arrangement. This new framework will protect the fundamental rights of Europeans where their data is transferred to the United States and ensure legal certainty for businesses.

Philippa Weitz, Training Director of PWTAC@DEMY, believes that this will clear up one of major the issues regarding the use of US based platforms which concerned where the data was stored.

This has not yet been voted through – but you’d be wise to read up on the progress as it is promising.

The HIPAA and State licenses are issues still to consider in your online practice for anything involving North America.

To get the full information please download the EU press release
eu-us_data_flows_communication_final.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [369.8 KB]

Security and confidentiality when working online: our responsibilities as psychotherapists & counsellors

Information Commissioner’s Office Data Protection Act 1998

Every counsellor and psychotherapist will need to be registered with the ICO, as it is unimaginable that they do not have any client data stored somewhere! We are required to adhere to the Data Protection Act 1998. The Guide to data protection summarises this.

 

You’ll also find it very important and useful to study the Data protection principles – principles 7 (security) and 8 (international) are particularly important for those of us working online.

WINDOWS 10 – tips for security
Windows 10 leaks like a sieve – some of it is for your benefit, but as counsellors and psychotherapists this gives us a number of privacy and confidentiality issues to think about. You can read about this in our fact sheet for Windows 10.

PWT Academy Tips for Password Protecting Files
Password protecting files may not be quite as secure as encrypted email, but they are far easier for you and your clients to use. Here is a guide about how to do this.

Beware of international websites offering to list you as a therapist !
If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Is this article Philippa Wetiz discusses a recent invitation she has to join Therapy Tribe, a US based therapy portal. download this PDF article and read the detail.

Why you shouldn’t use Skype for clinical work

This issue is particularly important in the current climate where doubts have surfaced about the security of using Skype for this clinical work. In the recent issue of TILT Quashie (2013) wrote on Skype and the American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) with regard to the rules and regulations concerning privacy and security. Whilst Skype is encrypted it fails at other hurdles that may impact on your practice, namely it is proprietary software (licenced under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder with the intent that the licencsee is given the right to use the software only under certain conditions, and restricted from other uses, such as modification, sharing, studying, redistribution, or reverse engineering). In practice, this means that as there is no way of knowing what information is stored by Skype, you will be unable to establish an audit trail, or know if there is a breach of security. In short, Skype is currently a tool that you should think carefully about using until these issues are sorted out. These issues have been put to Skype by a number of organisations, including Open Technology Institute Reporters Without Borders, but have not yet been addressed satisfactorily. In practice, Skype is the most widely used software and is likely to be the one you know best. In a Distance Counselling Survey reported in TILT magazine Starks (2012) identified that 66.3% of practitioners use Skype. If you do use Skype please remember the associated concerns, and ensure that you best protect yourself in the way you set up your practice and the security that goes with this and discuss this at the outset with your clients. Kate Antony recommends www.VSee.com which is encrypted (as is Skype) but more secure.
It is indeed very curious that some key trainers training in online work are advocating the use of Skype when the research suggests that this is not sufficiently robust for psychotherapy online. This and other confidentiality and security issues are covered fully in Chapter 8 of Psychotherapy 2.0: Where Psychotherapy and Technology Meet due out in February 2014.

A Survey of Professional Indemnity Insurers investigating whether they provide insurance to work online
Philippa Weitz carried out a secret shopper exercise Summer 2014 to investigate Professional Indemnity Insurance for working online. The results might shock you but not all insurers insure you to work online or to work internationally online, so make sure you check both before you sign up with your insurer (or renew) and before you start working online. If in any doubt about any aspect of working online be sure to always check with your insurer first.

The role of confidentiality and security for working online – our responsibilities as psychotherapists & counsellors – a position paper
Disclaimer: This paper was presented at the UKCP conference Psychotherapy 2.0 on Saturday 21st June 2014. The views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of UKCP. They are based only on very limited and open source information and the entire content of this paper should be considered as “work in progress” and should in no way be considered a definitive answer. It is provided to help guide you in thinking about how you ensure the confidentiality and security of your client material in the light of newer and always changing media. The author declines any responsibility for any errors; this paper is put together in good faith. You should always consult your professional membership organisation, the ICO and your insurer.

The role of confidentiality and security for working online – our responsibilities as psychotherapists & counsellors PowerPoint Presentation
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author. They are based only on very limited and open source information and the entire content of this paper should be considered as “work in progress” and should in no way be considered a definitive answer. It is provided to help guide you in thinking about how you ensure the confidentiality and security of your client material in the light of newer and always changing media. The author declines any responsibility for any errors; this paper is put together in good faith. You should always consult your professional membership organisation, the Information Commissioner’s Office and your insurer