What Should Be Shredded?

There are many laws and regulation in place to protect companies and individuals from having sensitive information stolen and or used against them in a malicious way. Below, you will find some of these laws and what they protect.

Economic Espionage Act, 1996: This is the first federal law that defines and severely punishes misappropriation and theft of trade secrets. However, according to this Act, the government will only protect companies who take "reasonable measures" to safeguard their information. This law suggests that companies should protect themselves against economic espionage by properly securing product information.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 1996
This Act ensures that healthcare organizations in the United States will be responsible for the secure electronic transmission of patient information and the secure storage and disposal of that information. This means that all medical information must be securely stored and destroyed to protect patients from the leak of such information.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), 1999
This piece of legislation requires banking and financial institutions across the United States to describe how they will protect the confidentiality and security of consumer information. Financial institutions are required to develop precautions to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information, to protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such records and to protect against unauthorized access to or use of such records or information which could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer.

Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), 2003
FACTA provides new tools to, among other things, help fight identity theft. The Act applies to any person or company that "maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information or any compilation of consumer information, derived from consumer reports for a business purpose." The Act contains a number of provisions intended to combat consumer fraud and related crimes, including identity theft, and to assist its victims. In the past, the practice known as dumpster diving" has provided identity thieves with a wealth of personal data. Irresponsible information disposal by businesses has been cited in numerous instances of fraud. Now, under new FACTA provisions, consumer reporting agencies and any business that uses a consumer report must adopt procedures for proper disposal.

State-Specific Enacted Identity Theft Legislation
Various U.S. states have enacted or amended state laws to address the rapidly growing crime of identity theft. In 2004 alone, 18 states enacted identity theft legislation. The state of Georgia, for example, signed a new identity theft bill into law, State Bill 475, in May, 2002. This law makes it a crime for any business to discard personal information unless it first "shreds, erases, modifies" and makes "reasonably" sure no one will access to it before it is destroyed.

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