Georgia law (O.C.G.A. Section 10-15-1) regulates the proper disposal of business records that contain consumers’ personal information. The law does not specify any particular method of disposal for items that contain only names, addresses and telephone numbers and no other information. However, a business should properly dispose of any documents that include a person’s fingerprints, photograph, Social Security number, passport number, driver’s license number, personal identification card number, date of birth, or medical or disability information. Some examples of covered documents are:
- Information about a consumer’s medical condition that is not considered public knowledge.
- Data containing account numbers, account balances, credit balances or credit limits.
- Information from federal, state or local tax returns.
- Information from loan or credit card applications.
In order to dispose of this material legally, a business needs to do one of the following:
- Shred such records before throwing them away;
- Erase the personal information contained in any records before discarding them; or
- Modify records so that the personal information is unreadable.
Your business must take every reasonable action to ensure that no unauthorized person will have access to your customers’ personal information.