AOH :: IS1754.HTM

Why Information Must Be Destroyed

Why Information Must Be Destroyed
Why Information Must Be Destroyed 

By Ben Rothke, CISSP, PCI QSA
February 24, 2009

The inability to discard worthless items even though they appear to have 
no value is known as compulsive hoarding syndrome. If the eccentric 
Collyer brothers had a better understanding of destruction practices, 
they likely would not have been killed by the very documents and 
newspapers they obsessively collected.

While most organizations don't hoard junk and newspapers like Homer and 
Langley Collyer did, they do need to keep information such as employee 
personnel records, financial statements, contracts and leases and more. 
Given the vast amount of paper and digital media that amasses over time, 
effective information destruction policies and practices are now a 
necessary part of doing business and will likely save organizations 
time, effort and heartache, legal costs as well as embarrassment and 

In December 2007, the Federal Trade Commission announced a $50,000 
settlement with American Mortgage Company of Northbrook, Illinois, over 
charges the company violated the FTC's Disposal, Safeguards, and Privacy 
rules by failing to properly dispose of documents containing consumers' 
credit and personally identifiable information. In announcing the 
settlement, the FTC put all companies on notice that it is taking such 
failures seriously.

A $50,000 settlement might seem low when measured against the potential 
for financial harm to individuals as a result of the company's 
negligence, but in addition to the negative PR for American Mortgage, 
the settlement includes an obligation to obtain an audit, every two 
years for the next 10 years, from a qualified, independent, third-party 
professional to ensure that its security program meets the standards of 
the order. Any similar failures by this company during the next decade 
will be met with more severe punishment. That, indeed, is a very costly 


Best Selling Security Books and More! 

Site design & layout copyright © 1986-2014 CodeGods