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Confidentiality refers to information shared with the expectation that it be kept private. In business settings, confidentiality typically covers two spheres: (1) proprietary trade secrets that have commodity value and (2) individual exchanges, often dealing with personal issues. Given the easy access to and proliferation of information and the lack of regulation or filtering, once a secret is disclosed, it is subsequently difficult to control. Thus, it is important that private information is selectively shared in an atmosphere of trust or under the constraints of a contract.

Established professions and procedures have clear rules about the extent of confidentiality, usually embodied in the law or a code of conduct. Some carry an expectation of client disclosure and reciprocal confidentiality by the professional, and information gained in ...

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