Privacy Principles for California

California has many privacy-related laws on the books. These address government agency information use, telephone records and wiretapping, credit reporting, telemarketing, medical records, employment records, cable television viewing patterns, video rental records, merchant information gathering, insurance record-keeping, and identity theft. In many instances, California has led the nation in the creation of such laws.

Caller ID: The Case for Consumer Education

The introduction of Caller ID to California has been an enlightening study in what happens when consumers are given adequate information to make meaningful decisions about safeguarding their privacy. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has mandated that the local phone companies educate consumers about the privacy implications of Caller ID. The CPUC has also required that the phone companies make both Complete and Selective Blocking available to consumers at no charge (called Per Line and Per Call Blocking in other states).

California Consumers: On Hold for New Telemarketing "Do Not Call" List

Few things annoy consumers more than intrusive telemarketing calls ­- which always come at the wrong time. Thanks to a new law, consumers can sign up to be on a statewide "do not call" list.

Many Californians have read about the new law and are anxious to be on the list. However, the sign-up does not start until January of 2003. Then, for just $1.00, consumers can be included on the list for three years.

Survey Finds Most Online Pharmacies Do Not Give HIPAA Privacy Notices

Readability consultant Mark Hochhauser, Ph.D., in cooperation with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, conducted a survey of 50 online pharmacy web sites from mid-April through July 9, 2004. Of the 50, a scant 11 sites (22%) included a HIPAA privacy notice as required by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the federal medical privacy rule.

Private Investigators in California: Analysis of the PIA and Case Law (Caragozian)

Lawyers often engage private investigators for sensitive assignments, such as conducting surveillance, obtaining admissions, and finding assets. Many lawyers do not know how investigators perform their work; other lawyers do not want to know. However, ignorance may not be bliss for California lawyers and investigators. In fact, it can be dangerous.

An Increase in Employee Background Checks Strains an Already Weak (Flint)

Two easily identifiable problems with the increased use of background checks are the potential for errors and past mistakes haunting people for far too long.  But, in addition to these problems, there are societal concerns about lack of privacy, ceding judgment to a computer database, and potential over-reliance on a person’s past behavior.

California Identity Theft Laws

Read about the laws that apply to victims of identity theft in California.

Letter to House of Reps. and Senate to Oppose HR 2622

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Identity Theft Resource Center urge you to oppose H.R. 2622 as written because it preempts many state consumer protection laws while failing to prevent credit bureau mistakes or stop identity theft.

Identity Theft Precautions for California State Employees

The Teale Data Center for the State of California has reported a security breach in the data base that holds payroll deduction information for all state government employees. According to news reports, officials for the Data Center are quite certain that data was not removed, although they are not entirely certain. One of the data elements in the data base is employee Social Security number (SSN). The incident apparently occurred in April 2002.

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