The Legislature Mandates Shredding
Consumer privacy has become such a serious issue that state and federal legislation have been enacted to protect our privacy. Yearly, California legislature considers many bills related to the issue of consumer privacy. California law consists of twenty nine codes. You can visit the Legislative Counsel of California web site at www.leginfo.ca.gov.
California Civil Code, Division 3, Part 4, Title 1.81-Customer Records
Section 1798.80 defines the following: business, records, customer, personal information as they apply to the title.
Section 1798.81 reads as follows:
“A business shall take all reasonable steps to destroy, or arrange for the destruction of a customer’s records within its custody or control containing personal information which is no longer to be retained by the business by (1) shredding, (2) erasing, or (3) otherwise modifying the personal information in those records to make it unreadable or undecipherable through any means.”
The Financial Modernization Act of 1999, commonly known as the GLB Act set provisions for the handling of financial information held by financial institutions. This act impacts realtors, mortgage and escrow companies, banks, securities firms and accountants to name a few. For more details visit the Federal Trade Commission website.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was set to protect patients’ confidential information. Security standards were set that establish measures to ensure the security of healthcare information maintained by healthcare providers, healthcare institutions as well as health insurance companies. This information must be properly destroyed by shredding, as burning is illegal in California. Visit Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for more information.
Privacy Act of 1974
This act protects the privacy of records maintained by the federal government. Since then amendments have been made to it offering additional protection. For additional information visit the Federal Trade Commission’s site.
Information Leaks when you don’t shred
What to Shred?
Any of the following no longer needing to be retained by an individual or business should be shredded:
- Financial documents-bank statements, cancelled or unused checks, tax returns
- Insurance forms and records
- Legal documents-wills, contracts
- Medical records
- Credit card documents-receipts, statements, offers
- Junk mail with your name and address
- Deceased family member records
- Customer lists and personal information (see the CA Civil Code above)
- Company sensitive information-management reports and strategies, human resource data, price lists, bids and proposals, marketing information
- Government classified information
- Any confidential information you do not want in the hands of the wrong people.