Basic Understanding of State and Federal Laws Protecting Your Identity
If you live in Wisconsin there are a number of laws and regulations to keep your information safe. Some are state mandated, others are federal, but understanding them all is important to keeping yourself and your information safe.
Wisconsin’s Dumpster Diving Law (Wisconsin Statute §895.505).
Wisconsin Law regulates businesses dealing with personal information to dispose of information in a particular manner, such as shredding. Businesses must ensure that any personal information that is disposed of is deemed impossible to read or access. If they fail to dispose of the information properly, the business is liable to fines. This is why it is important to use a service like document shredding.
Dumpster diving is also illegal because of this law. The law states that any individual that gains access to information that was not properly disposed of is equally liable as the business that disposed the information.
Fines, damages and civil liability can be levied based on the severity of the law being disregarded.
Wisconsin’s Trade Secret Protection Law (Wisconsin Statute §134.90).
Wisconsin law gives protection to company’s trade secrets that are acquired due to improper handling.
The court can prevent the secret from being disclosed through a court order. Action for misappropriation must be brought within 3 years to stay within the Statute of Limitations.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
This law is used to protect the privacy of patient health records through the threat of penalty for improper use or disclosure of these records for healthcare providers, insurance plans, billing services and companies affiliated with these entities.
Fines vary based on level. Civil penalties can be as high as $25k per violation and criminal fines that range from $50-250k and 1-10 years of imprisonment.
This act emboldens companies in the financial sector to anticipate hazards and protect customers’ personal information.
Penalties for noncompliance can range from fines (up to $10k for personal and $100k for an institution, for each violation) to imprisonment.
Americans with Disabilities Act and Federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
These acts protect how medical records are handled as well as hold that they be kept confidential.
Failure to comply with either act can result in fines and civil liability.
Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998.
The act makes identity theft a federal crime.
Not only does it make the act of using another person’s identity for unlawful activity a crime, but it also holds businesses who are lax in protecting a person’s information possibly held liable.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Passed in 2002 this act protects investors from fraudulent accounting from corporations.
It mandates how long businesses must store records for.