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Remember that by law some information needs to be kept for a long time for tax or legal reasons - Check before you shred important documents.
UK Data Protection Act
It is imperative that Companies and Businesses do not fall foul of the Data Protection Act.
This is current legislation protecting your staff and in extreme cases responsible individuals are legally liable to fine or even imprisonment if the appropriate principles are ignored.
A simple rule - DESTROY BY SHREDDING ALL SENSITIVE INFORMATION - ON SITE!!
A Summary of the Data Protection Act 1998
The Data Protection Act sets out eight protection principles which form the legislative framework and with which a data controller must comply.
1st: Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully.
2nd: Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes.
3rd: Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.
4th: Personal data shall be accurate and where necessary, kept up to date.
5th: Personal data processed for any purpose shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose.
6th: Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under the Act.
7th: Appropriate technical and organizational measures shall be taken against unauthorized or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of or damage to personal data.
8th: Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area...
IMPORTANT - Interpretation of the 7th principle
The Seventh Principle of the Act states that "appropriate technical and organizational measures" must be taken to protect personal data, and gives advise on appropriate security measures. The list of security controls to be considered include.. "is printed material disposed of securely, for example by shredding?"
BREACHES OF THIS ACT MAY RESULT IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE DATA CONTROLLER AND THE AWARD OF FINANCIAL COMPENSATION TO THE DATA SUBJECT IN RESPECT OF PERSONAL DATA WHICH NOW INCLUDES DATA IN A RELEVANT FILING SYSTEM, NOT JUST COMPUTERS.