Where do you discuss or use confidential and/or legally protected information? Your workspace acoustics can put critical and confidential information at risk.
Many privacy and confidentiality breaches are caused by lack of speech privacy and poor room acoustics. Most cases of privacy breaches and information leaks are actually simple and innocent. But, unintentional or not, breaches of privacy still pose risks to participants’ security and your organization’s research development.
Confidential conversations leak through walls, doors and windows. HVAC ducts also carry sound far from the intended audience, causing colleagues or visiting clients to overhear confidential information. The lack of speech privacy and confidentiality cost research facilities a lot.
Speech Privacy and Confidentiality in Research Facilities
Government and health researchers often deal with human subject research. Professionals and research facilities have legal and ethical responsibilities to safeguard the confidentiality of information that participants share with them.
Researchers are responsible for compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements with respect to safeguarding confidentiality. Failure to secure privacy and confidentiality can lead to serious violations of law.
For health care researches, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy and security rules apply. Research studies involving students should operate under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) along with HIPAA. Private practices and research also have to follow federal laws and regulations.
High Risks of Industrial and Economic Espionage
The lack of speech privacy opens government agencies and private organizations to a higher risk of espionage. Without speech privacy, confidential conversations are more discernible and intelligible and critical information are more accessible.
Competitors target sensitive economic and industrial information, including critical technologies and research development efforts. Over 700,000 eavesdropping devices are sold each year. Telephones are bugged. Confidential information can be overheard in a workspace with poor acoustics.
There are over 6,500 incidents of industrial espionage that occur in the United States every year, with an average economic impact of $1.25 million per incident. Speech privacy breaches cost Fortune 1,000 over $53 billion annually.
Espionage poses a large threat to businesses, the economy, societal development and national security.
Ensure Speech Privacy and Confidentiality with the ABCs of Room Acoustics
Absorb, Block and Cover — “The ABCs of Speech Privacy” — represent three ways to improve your room acoustics and ensure speech privacy. Soft surfaces absorb sound, walls block it and masking sound can cover it up, preventing speech from traveling in the open space and getting overheard by an unintended audience.
Decorative acoustic panels can be installed in walls, ceilings and workspace partitions to help absorb and block sound. High quality sound masking systems make confidential conversation unintelligible to eavesdroppers by filling in the sound spectrum with unobtrusive, comfortable background sound.
Acoustic panels combined with intelligent sound masking technology reduce the risks of breach of confidentiality and espionage. Proactive acoustics management and speech privacy help safeguard your clients’ confidentiality and your organization’s development efforts.
Learn more about the risks of privacy breaches and espionage and how to prevent them. Download the Safeguarding Information whitepaper.