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HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act)

This Act required the Department of Health and Human Services to establish national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health plans, and employers. It also addresses the security and privacy of Patient Health Information (PHI).  Specifically, it requires healthcare providers to destroy PHI before throwing it away.

California Civil Code 1798.80-1798.84

This California state law states that any business that deals with “personal information” “shall take all reasonable steps to destroy” a customer's records that are no longer of value by “shredding, erasing or otherwise modifying” the information to render it unreadable.  Any person injured by a violation of this rule may sue for civil damages. California is one of two states in the Union (Georgia is the other) with a state shredding law.

California v Greenwood

In this landmark case in 1988, the Supreme Court ruled that trash is not private.  The Court ruled “it is common knowledge that plastic garbage bags left along a public street are readily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoops, and other members of the public.”

Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)

FACTA is a subset of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  On June 1, 2005, FACTA's section 216 will require any business or person who possesses consumer information to destroy the information before discarding it.

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