In recent years, the ny private investigators have come under the increasing scrutiny and pressure from privacy advocates, national and state lawmakers and perhaps most importantly attorneys and civil courts. Numerous courts have recently held that information brokers and private investigators can be liable for the harms caused by selling personal information without just cause or permissible reason. There have been several awards being meted out against private investigators that have unwittingly assisted a stalker in the location of his prey. In some instances clients have murdered the person the investigator was hired to find.
Is this increased scrutiny going to stop the business of private investigations on skip tracing? Not hardly, but as prudent people we should take precautions against giving information to potentially bad people with nefarious plans for any amount of money. We have a duty to protect the public to the extent that we should never facilitate the harm or death of the subjects of our private investigations. How do we accomplish this when we cannot always know the ultimate intent of our client with 100% certainty? We have to act responsibly.
For skip trace assignments on behalf of non-commercial clients that do not fall under permissible purposes as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, many ny private investigators have instituted a Subjects Right of Refusal, which states that a client will not be given a subjects sensitive or personal information, including their whereabouts, without the subject being notified of the investigation and given the opportunity to decide whether or not the information is shared with the client. We get the decision of the subject in writing as well. Keep in mind that this may steer some clients to go elsewhere for the investigation but if the client is not willing to follow this protocol then something is certainly wrong and so is your own personal well being and that of the subject is not worth any amount of money.
Chances are we will never be able to avoid liability in skip tracing assignments, but you can certainly feel better about completing them when you follow the Subjects Right of Refusal clause in your investigative contracts and retainer agreements which should read as follow:
Furthermore, if this investigation is an attempt to locate a person (family member, adoption, reunion, former family member, friend or significant other), for non-commercial purposes that do not fall within permissible-purpose guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I understand that I will not receive information concerning the subjects whereabouts, or additional sensitive personal information, until they have signed a waiver authorizing the release of this information to me. In the event that they decline the release of their information, I authorize RQ Investigations to release my home address, email address, telephone number or other contact information to the subject for the purpose of contacting me directly. In any case, I understand that I will still be liable for the cost of the investigation conducted whether the subject authorizes the release of their information or not.
Our job is to protect ourselves and the welfare of others when we take on the assignments of private investigations.
For more information on ny private investigators and the Liability of Skip Tracing Assignments please visit our website at http://www.rqinvestigations.com/.
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