FTC Requests Public Comment on Disposal Rule for Consumer Report Information and Records

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking public comment on the Disposal Rule formally known as the ‘Disposal of Consumer Report Information and Records Rule’ which implements part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) by requiring consumer report information for business purposes to be properly disposed of through reasonable measures to protect that data from unauthorized access, according to an FTC press release.

As part of its systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC is seeking public comment on the economic impact and benefits of the Rule, possible conflicts with state, local or other federal laws, and its effect on any technological or other industry changes.  The agency also seeks comment on whether the definition of “consumer information” should be expanded to include aggregate information or information that can be reasonably linked to an individual.

Comments to the FTC about the Disposal Rule must be received on or before November 21, 2016. Instructions for submitting comments online or on paper are in the Federal Register Notice at 16 CFR Part 682: Disposal of Consumer Report Information and Records; Request for Public Comment. Below are instructions on submitting comments online and on paper which after received will be posted on the FTC website at www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments:

  • Online: Write “Disposal Rule, 16 CFR Part 682, Project No. 165410” on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/disposalrule by following the instructions on the web-based form. If this document appears at www.regulations.gov, you also may file a comment through that Web site.
  • Paper: Write “Disposal Rule, 16 CFR Part 682, Project No. 165410 ” on your comment and on the envelope and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite CC-5610 (Annex H), Washington, D.C. 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street, S.W., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex H), Washington, D.C. 20024.

According to the ‘Background’ section of the Notice: The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA” or “Act”) was enacted in 2003. In part, the Act amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by imposing a requirement that any person that maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information, or any compilation of consumer information, derived from consumer reports for a business purpose, properly dispose of any such information or compilation.

The FTC’s Disposal Rule took effect on June 1, 2005 and requires “reasonable and appropriate” disposal practices to prevent the unauthorized access to or use of information in a consumer report. The FTC ‘Disposing of Consumer Report Information? Rule Tells How’ Guidance offers some reasonable measures for disposing of consumer report information at www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/disposing-consumer-report-information-rule-tells-how:

  • Burn, pulverize, or shred papers containing consumer report information so that the information cannot be read or reconstructed;
  • Destroy or erase electronic files or media containing consumer report information so that the information cannot be read or reconstructed;
  • Conduct due diligence and hire a document destruction contractor to dispose of material specifically identified as consumer report information consistent with the Rule. Due diligence could include: Reviewing an independent audit of a disposal company’s operations and/or its compliance with the Rule; Obtaining information about the disposal company from several references; Requiring that the disposal company be certified by a recognized trade association; Reviewing and evaluating the disposal company’s information security policies or procedures.

The FTC requests written comment on any or all of the questions contained in Federal Notice. These questions are designed to assist the public and should not be construed as a limitation on the issues about which public comments may be submitted. The FTC requests that responses to its questions be as specific as possible and refer to data or other evidence upon which the comment is based whenever available and appropriate. Some of these questions include:

  • Is there a continuing need for specific provisions of the Disposal Rule?
  • What benefits has the Disposal Rule provided to consumers? What evidence supports the asserted benefits?
  • What modifications, if any, should be made to the Disposal Rule to increase its benefits to consumers?
  • What significant costs, if any, has the Disposal Rule imposed on consumers?

The FTC works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. To learn more, call 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit www.ftc.gov. The text of the FTC Federal Register Notice is at www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/federal_register_notices/2016/09/frn_disposal_rule_reg_review.pdf. The FTC press release about the FTC Disposal Rule is available at www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/09/ftc-seeks-comment-disposal-rule.

NAPBS Accredited CRAs Like ESR Follow FTC Disposal Rule

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a global background check firm – is accredited by the National Association of Professional background Screeners (NAPBS®). NAPBS Accreditation Clause 1.10 ‘Record Destruction’ requires Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) like ESR to follow FTC Disposal Rule regulations to ensure that records and data to be disposed of are completely destroyed and unrecoverable. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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