Statement on Outsourcing and Privacy

We at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse commend Senator Figueroa and the two Senate Committees for conducting a hearing on outsourcing, and for considering not only the employment implications but also the potential risks to the privacy and security of records containing sensitive personal information. I restrict my comments to the issues of privacy and security.

Merging County Social Services Data Bases: Privacy Pitfalls and a Policy Solution

My presentation will focus on the privacy implications of the integration of health and human services. I am going to spend most of my time describing a set of privacy principles which I believe are essential to guide the merger and use of information from several agencies and department. These are called the Fair Information Principles.

California Court Ruling Strengthens Consumer Privacy

On Feb. 10, 2011, the California Supreme Court ruled that retail stores are not allowed to request and record a consumer's zip code as part of a credit card transaction. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Consumer Federation of California, that jointly filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on this case, the ruling gives further protection to California consumers and helps prevent unlawful use of personal identification information (PII).

Privacy Rights of Employees Using Workplace Computers In California

Employers and employees are concerned about computers in the workplace.  Employers worry that employees waste time, such as by chatting or shopping on-line.[1]  Employers worry too that employees create liability by viewing and circulating pornographic, racist, or other improper material.

 Employees worry about their privacy.  Software, like Specter, SurfWatch, Eblaster, Telemate, Message Inspector, Silent Watch, Websense, Little Brother, and WinWhatWhere, allows the computer owner to monitor computer use. [2]  Some software allows the owner to check users' e-mail and Web destinations; some also allows viewing of entire e-mail messages, Web images, and word processing documents.  Moreover, most of this software can be installed without alerting the computer user. [3]

 The press has reported that employees have no privacy rights whatsoever when using their employers' computers and that employers can spy at will. [4]

Comments to California Department of Insurance Concerning Privacy of Personal Financial and Medical Record Information

We are pleased to see that the proposed regulations, as revised, include a number of changes that will benefit individual privacy interests. We commend the staff of the Department for efforts to balance multiple interests and their willingness to consider our concerns about loss of personal privacy.

California Do-Not-Call Registry Is Merging with the Federal List

In 2002, the California Legislature mandated that the state's Attorney General (AG) establish a statewide do-not-call list. It was to be operational by April 1, 2003. But in December 2002, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would establish a national do-not-call list that would encompass all of the states. Rather than duplicate efforts and confuse consumers, the California AG's office instead joined with the FTC in order to merge the state's efforts with the federal list. The federal list will not be activated until October 2003. Here's how this has all transpired and what it means for you:

Full-Page Ad Distorts Facts about SB 773, California Financial Privacy Bill

The group's name, as well as its web site's address, www.caprivacyprotection.org, bely the Coalition's true colors. It is an industry-backed organization, comprised of the California Chamber of Commerce and the major financial industry trade associations in the state.

The Coalition's newspaper ad contains outright distortions about the provisions of SB 773. Here are some examples.

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