Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit consumer education and advocacy organization, located in San Diego, California. Our mission is to engage, educate, and empower consumers to protect their privacy. We engage in outreach, provide educational materials and services to individuals nationwide, and have an active media presence. The PRC uses the information we learn directly from consumers to form the basis of our advocacy work.
PRC was founded in 1992 with funding from the Telecommunications Education Trust (TET), a former program of the California Public Utilities Commission. TET funding ceased in the early 1990s, and PRC has since been funded by foundation grants, cy pres settlement awards, and individual donations.
From 1992 to 1996, PRC was a program of the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego School of Law. In 1996, PRC became a project of San Diego-based Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN). In 2014, PRC separated from UCAN to become an independent nonprofit tax-exempt organization (Federal Tax ID number: 45-4739319).
In the early 1990s, PRC staffed and operated a toll-free telephone hotline and provided consumer guides in paper form to tens of thousands of consumers. In 1996 PRC launched its website. PRC’s telephone hotline and paper guides were replaced by an online question and complaint center as well as the delivery of its educational materials via the website.
Over the years, PRC has been at the forefront of identifying and bringing attention to critical privacy-related issues. PRC was the first consumer organization in the nation to raise awareness of the crime now known as identity theft and provide assistance to victims. PRC was also the first consumer organization to publish consumer guides on two complex laws when initially implemented: the Financial Services Modernization Act (also known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley) and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). We continue to publish guides as laws are passed and rules implemented, and we update them on a regular basis.
PRC focuses our direct advocacy efforts at the California state level. The California legislature has been at the forefront in passing strong privacy-related laws for decades.
PRC has worked closely with other California consumer advocacy organizations to support the passage of several landmark California laws. These include California’s data breach notice law, security freeze law, and its groundbreaking financial privacy law.
PRC has also participated in numerous state and federal public policy task forces over the years, and we often weigh in on federal privacy legislation and administrative agency proceedings.
- PRC’s founder and Executive Director, Beth
Givens, has received the following awards:
- Consumer Federation of California’s 2012 Albin Gruhn Consumer Warrior Award;
- Consumer Federation of America’s 2010 Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award;
- Electronic Privacy Information Center’s 2010 U.S. Privacy Champion Award;
- Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 2002 Pioneer Award; and
- Privacy International’s 2000 Brandeis Award.
- PRC and its (formerly) affiliated Identity Theft Resource Center received the Foundation for Improvement of Justice’s 2000 award for their work with identify theft victims.
- PRC received the 1997 Consumer Action Award for its “outstanding service to consumers.”