Delaware law adds destruction requirements

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed House Bill 295 into law July 1, 2014, which amends Title 6 of the Delaware code relating to commerce and trade and the safe destruction of documents containing personal identifying information. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

The law requires commercial entities “to destroy or arrange for the destruction of” hard copy and electronic records containing personal identifying information at the end of its retention period using a method that makes the information “entirely unreadable or indecipherable through any means” by “shredding, erasing or otherwise destroying or modifying the personal identifying information in those records.”

The law seeks to ensure the security and confidentiality of consumers’ personal identifying information; to protect against foreseeable threats to the security or integrity of this information; and to protect against unauthorized access to or use of consumers’ personal data that could result in harm or inconvenience to consumers.

The law does not apply to entities that are already covered by existing federal data security laws, such as banks, credit unions or financial institutions per the Gramm Leach Bliley Law that are subject “to the regulation of the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the Federal Reserve, the National Credit Union Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of Thrift Supervision and the U.S. Department of the Treasury or the Department of Business Regulation” and to the privacy and security provisions of the Gramm Leach Bliley Act. Health insurers or health care facilities subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); consumer report agencies subject to the Federal Credit Reporting Act. Government entities also are exempt from the law.

The law states that commercial entities in violation of the law are subject to one violation for each record disposed of unreasonably. Consumers who experience actual damages related to a violation of the law are permitted to file a civil case, and the court may award treble damages. As well, according to the law, “Whenever the Attorney General has reason to believe that a violation of this chapter has occurred and that proceedings would be in the public interest, the Division of Consumer Protection of the Department of Justice may bring an action in law or the Division of Consumer Protection may bring an administrative enforcement proceeding pursuant to Chapter 25 of Title 29. The provisions of Chapter 25 of Title 29, including those regarding remedies, cease and desist orders, violations, penalties and appeals, shall apply to this Chapter.”

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