So what does anti-idling have to do with document security and shredding?
It seems that due to municipal anti-idling laws in Burlington, Hamilton and other jurisdictions the mobile shredding services are being restricted from doing on site shredding. It appears that running their engines for the time it takes to complete shredding projects onsite violates the anti-idling bylaws and they are not permitted to operate in this manner.
So what is the security risk?
In order to complete the shredding they are being forced to transmit the materials to be processed to centralized sites for processing. These sites would not require diesel operations so the materials can be processed without violation. The challenge however from a security stand point is the travelling carrying the documents and the subsequent handling of the documents in the processing centres.
One horror story I heard (not independently verified) was that one of the processing contractors had an arrangement with a paper mill to take the shredded output and reprocess it for paper pulp. When one of the shredded shipments arrived the employees in the paper plant noticed that there were some unshredded cheques in the load. When they looked them over, the cheques were actually from their company and somehow they had not been shredded properly before being shipped. I have not verified this story personally so will not mention any names or processors but the implications of such an occurence are obviously serious for all concerned.
As a business, you are responsible for the processes you invoke to be able to handle the privacy and security of the documents that you work with. Off loading this responsibility to a third party is only possible if you can verify that their processes ensure the continued security of the documents. You ultimately retain the responsibility for privacy protection and security.
So how do you shred your paper documents securely?
Check your contracts with your suppliers if you are going to use an outside resource and have them review their process, security protocols and guarantees.
Consider taking control of your own shredding processes. The equipment available is much more efficient and can be much more productive at lower costs.
Look to electronic processes to eliminate the paper from your systems as much as possible. Even the Ontario Privacy Commissioner has suggested this is a viable strategy to improve document security.