John Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste, has issued a public statement classifying a stolen laptop containing the private medical records of more than 100,000 patients as a lesson to be learned by anyone with a computer.

The stolen laptop made headline news last week. More than 100,000 customers of a home monitoring company headquartered in Waltham, Mass., are now at risk of ID theft following the theft of the laptop, which containing unencrypted data, according to news reports.

The laptop was stolen from an employee’s car and included the full names, Social Security numbers and diagnoses of customers of the monitoring company, which provides disease health management solutions.

Shegerian warns that while this information is now at risk due to theft, it also serves as a stark reminder of the importance for every business and individual to protect their privacy and never simply throw computer data in the trash.

“Although environmental protection is still the paramount concern when it comes to the appropriate disposal of electronic waste,” said Shegerian, “a concurrent issue that needs to be addressed by all governmental, corporate and US citizens is data protection. While the story in the news now concerns stolen data, it is crucially important to remember that if data from the hard drives of intentionally disposed consumer electronic devices is not properly shredded and destroyed, personal data will continue to be breached. It’s an issue that is vitally important to the protection of our individual and corporate privacy — and even our Homeland and National Security can be put in senseless jeopardy.”

“At ERI,” Shegerian continued, “we know how important this is and have developed the world’s most efficient shredding technology for the destruction and recycling of e-waste.”