The central reason for shredding your important documents is to protect your privacy, that is, the your privacy of information. The privacy of your information is important for several reasons, like identity theft and other forms of fraud, and there are even government mandates surrounding it. Certain documents must be shred in order to practice compliant shredding (which we’ve talked about in the past, if you want to take a look), and one of these acts that you must comply with is the Privacy Act of 1974. Here, we want to take a look at that act to explain a little bit about why shredding, and shredding with compliance, is so important.
Passed on New Year’s Eve, 1974, the Privacy Act’s main goal was to set guidelines for the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal information. The act mandates that your information, even if it is being held in a federal system, cannot be released to anyone without your written consent for them to do so (however there are 12 statutory exceptions). The act also guarantees people the right to access and make amendments (within reason) to their own personal records.
Keeping these records private, and making sure that only the people who have the authority to distribute them do that job, is difficult if there are several copies of all of the different documents that you need to protect floating around. Making sure that you have only one copy of an important document for yourself, and keeping it in a safe place, is extremely important for maintaining your privacy and in turn, your safety.
If you are a company or firm that is in charge of keeping other people’s records safe, then this is even more important for you. By failing to protect peoples’ records, and allowing them to be seen by people without the explicit consent of the subject, could land you in some very hot water. Having a professional document shredding service, or on-site shredding at your business, is imperative for safely protecting the information that needs it.
Finding yourself in trouble with the government is not a position that you want to be in, which is why it’s so important to have an understanding of their rules and regulations regarding privacy and the sharing of private information. Consult with professional shredding services before shredding, or not shredding, the wrong thing.