By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There are laws that govern not just what you do with the information on your computer system, but also with how you dispose of it.

The fact that your kids scoff at you because your laptop is so six months ago probably makes you think that your obsolete technology has no value. Turns out, it can be quite expensive.

BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee retired old technology and stored unencrypted hard drives without taking security measures because it thought like you do: who would want these? Thieves, it turns out, who stole the hard drives and the personally identifiable information on them.

There are laws that require that businesses that store personal information keep it secure, even once they stop using it. Blue Cross just settled the case brought against it by the Department of Health and Human Services for $1.5 million for failure to do so.

If you are a business owner, you have to wipe unencrypted hard drives and then ensure destruction to prevent violation of privacy laws if there’s a theft. And even in you’re home, protect yourself from identity theft by doing the same with the technology you are retiring because if you think your kids are mortified that you haven’t disposed of your old technology, imagine how you’ll feel if you don’t dispose of it securely.

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