Do You Know the Laws Surrounding Client Privacy?

There are a number of reasons your company should use onsite-shredding services. One of the most important reasons is to ensure the privacy of your clients’ personal and financial information. There are several federal laws now in place designed to protect the privacy of individuals, and many of these specifically address the role businesses have in protecting the information of clients. Familiarizing yourself with these laws can protect you from legal problems and help you provide the best possible service to your clients.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was a landmark ruling limiting the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information without the consent of the patient and subject to certain exclusions. It is one of the most extensive and far-reaching laws in recent years, affecting everything from the handling of insurance records to discussions in emergency rooms. If your company handles documents like health records or insurance paperwork, be sure to dispose of this information properly through an onsite shredding service so you won’t be liable if their information falls into the wrong hands.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) is an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act originally enacted to prevent identity theft enacted by the FTC. FACTA imposed stricter guidelines on the disposal of any information for “any person who maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information for a business purpose,” stressing that all consumer information must be properly destroyed. FACTA defines securely shredding paper documentation as a reasonable measure as, making onsite shredding services an ideal solution.

The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLB) requires all financial institutions to keep customers’ data secure and confidential, including but not limited to Social Security numbers, passwords, credit and debit card numbers, credit reports, and any information that identifies a specific individual. The GLB act also prohibits inadvertent or negligent disclosure by financial institutions, which includes anyone handling financial information for clients, such as tax preparers, real estate firms, and collection agencies.

The Economic Espionage Act covers the theft, selling or misappropriation of inside information or company trade secrets, making these activities criminal offenses. It is the first federal law to clearly define these activities and determine appropriate punishments for them. Regularly scheduled onsite shredding will deter company espionage by destroying any relevant documents before it can be passed on to outside parties.

The government has passed several laws in recent years designed to protect the privacy of both private citizens and companies. Understanding these is crucial to knowing whether your company is doing everything in its power to protect the privacy of its clients. For more information about how onsite-shredding services can help you, talk to On-Site Shred.