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How NOT to use your hard-earned government security clearance April 1, 2015

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

According to this news article, a Japanese translation company under contract with the Nuclear Regulation Authority has apparently leaked an internal, classified document online from the nuclear watchdog. The document does not contain confidential information but is marked “Classified 2,” one of three levels of classification by the government. The company sent the document, without password protection, to a job applicant and solicited translators who would double-check its translations via a private-sector online bulletin board.

News flash: anything marked Classified should not be put online. The agency I work with uses a password-protected FTP site for downloading and uploading files. I had to get my security clearance verified before I could even look at the files to see if I would be a good fit for the job.

Companies don’t seem to realize that if you are doing any kind of government work you really can’t use cloud-based translation tools, cloud storage or any other number of new innovations. Microsoft 365 will never be used by this translator for that very reason! It’s just too risky. My security clearance is too valuable to even risk it. My laptop is encrypted. I do not use cloud-based tools. My government-related files are kept on my hard drive and deleted within the prescribed 90 days. And I’m just a lowly translator!

I know we joke about translation agencies sending files to numerous potential translators, but there is a foundation for these jokes. Why would agencies risk their valuable government contracts? Let this be a wake-up call to the industry. Shaking my head this morning.

P.S. Unfortunately this is NOT an April Fools joke. Thanks to Rina Ne’eman of Hebrew Translations for sharing this on Facebook.



1. Kevin Lossner (@GermanENTrans) - April 1, 2015

This is no surprise at all. I cannot count well enough to keep track of similar security and confidentiality violations I have seen by the still-diapered staff of too many bulk market bogsters aka Linguistic Sausage Producers (LSPs). Even the “good” companies get it wrong too often. We can’t change those idiots, nor should we try, but we can certainly adopt best, safe practices as you do Jill and remain aware of real risks and how to cope with them!

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