Are you subject to the Disposal Rule? We have a rule in our home that artichoke leaves do not go into the garbage disposal – a rule born out of my efforts to unclog a drain one too many times. However, this Disposal Rule deals with how sensitive consumer information is destroyed.
– What Is The Disposal Rule?
This Rule mandates what common sense requires. In simple terms, it says, “If you use consumer reports, don’t allow the very personal information in them to be accessible to anyone else.” The Rule requires disposal practices that are reasonable and appropriate to prevent the unauthorized access to – or use of – information in a consumer report.
– Does The Rule Apply To You?
If you use or consult consumer reports, this Rule applies to you. Large or small organizations are included. Some examples would include consumer reporting companies; lenders; insurers; employers; landlords; government agencies; mortgage brokers, car dealers; attorneys; private investigators; debt collectors. As an individual, if you pull a consumer report on prospective home employees (nannies, housekeepers or contractors) you are also subject to this Rule.
If you don’t refer to or use information from consumer reports, you are not subject to this law. However, it is common sense that sensitive, financial or personal information should be destroyed when you are finished with the information.
– What is a Consumer Report?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act defines a “consumer report” as information obtained from a consumer reporting company that is used – or expected to be used – in establishing a consumer’s eligibility for credit, employment, or insurance, among other purposes. Therefore, credit reports, credit scores, reports businesses or individuals receive with information relating to employment background, check writing history, insurance claims, residential or tenant history, or medical history are all “consumer reports.”
– What Should You Do?
Adopt a complying policy and make sure you and your employees follow it. Your plan could include burning, pulverizing or shredding hard copies of the information and/or destruction of electronic files or other media so the information cannot be retrieved or reconstructed. If your business delegates the destruction task to a document destruction firm, check the company out and make sure you understand their procedures and policies and try to find out if they are certified by a trade organization.
– For More Information or Help:
Your attorney should be able to draft an appropriate policy to comply with this law. The Disposal Rule was published by the Federal Trade Commission and is available at their main website. The Federal Trade Commission has also issued a new publication, “New Rule Seeks to Protect Privacy by Requiring Proper Disposal of Sensitive Consumer Information,” that can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt152.shtm
That’s the new Disposal Rule – it’s not just for artichokes any more.
Ralph G. Martinez is an attorney and the founding principal of The Martinez Law Group, Inc., an Orange County business and real estate law firm of legal advisors and trial attorneys. Mr. Martinez writes a blog to entrepreneurs and small businesses on the Internet through his website located at http://www.martinezlawoffice.com© Ralph G. Martinez 2008. The author grants reprint permission to all print and broadcast media on the condition that source reference is made to the author and the author’s website, www.martinezlawoffice.com, and if reprinted electronically, the author’s website reference is a live, clickable reference.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com/expert/Ralph_Martinez/196168
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