Spring Cleaning Your Personal and Financial Records

Now that tax season is over, many people are wondering which personal and financial records they need to save for tax and other purposes. Some of us are packrats and like to save everything forever. Others can't wait to discard unwanted papers.

So what's the best way to decide whether to save or discard a record? Here are a few tips and information sources to help you decide what records you need to keep and for how long.

JetBlue: Complaint for Violations of CA Business and Professions Code Sections 17200, et seq.

JetBlue Airways Corporation ("JetBlue"), through an agreement with Torch Concepts, acting in its capacity as a subcontractor for SRS Technologies, provided the personal information of over a million passengers, some of whom are located in California, without such passengers' authorization or consent and in violation of JetBlue's stated privacy policy not to share without consent any passenger data with any third parties.

Nonprofit Organizations and Privacy: Responsible Mailing List Management

We got a call from a woman who had written over 2,000 letters in the past couple years, asking to be taken off various and sundry mailing lists. She kept detailed records of all her correspondence and its effect. The one entity that was the most troublesome to her was a nonprofit organization -- she wrote it 18 times to no avail. It was the Republican National Committee

Preventing Identity Theft: Industry Practices Are the Key

Discussions on preventing identity theft often focus on steps consumers can take, such as shredding their trash and restricting access to their Social Security number (SSN). But realistically, while such measures can reduce the odds of becoming a victim, there is little consumers can do to actually prevent identity theft. The key to prevention, rather, is for businesses to establish responsible information-handling practices and for the credit industry to adopt stricter application verification procedures, among other strategies (see below).

Consumers' Concerns about Financial Privacy and Security

I have been asked by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to present an overview of consumers' concerns about financial privacy and security. I think the best way for me to do that is to tell you about some of the cases that have come to my attention from people calling our hotline or sending e-mail messages.

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.

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.

Ten Privacy Principals for Health Care

Health-related information that we share with doctors and others is among the most intimate and sensitive of all personal information. In addition to information about physical health, these records may include information about family relationships, sexual behavior, substance abuse, and private thoughts and feelings related to mental health.

Yet, as privacy advocate Evan Hendricks put it, video rental records in this country are afforded more privacy protection under law than are medical records.

Issues of Privacy and Access

Advances in technology give rise to the classic double edged sword. There are obvious benefits, such as locating and garnishing the wages of deadbeat parents. But there is also the downside, the development of a cradle to grave electronic dossier which can pose threats to personal privacy and which can be used for purposes of social control.

My presentation will focus on the privacy implications of advances in technology and the importance of crafting policies to enable the benefits to proceed while minimizing the negative consequences.

Disasters and Your Privacy

Nobody likes to think about the possibility of a natural disaster or a terrorist act.   But as victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina can attest, it’s important to prepare for a disaster before it happens.  Certainly, your first concerns in an emergency should be your safety and basic needs such as shelter, food and water.  While there are many resources that can assist you with those concerns, this alert will focus on protecting your privacy and personal information during and after a disaster.

It’s important to realize that different types of disasters are likely to result in different consequences.  You may be asked to shelter in place, to evacuate to a facility in your own community, or possibly to relocate to a far-off location in another state.  Or you may choose to stay with a relative or friend.  Likewise, you may be able to return to your home after a short while, or there may be an extended period of absence.  In the worst case, your home and its contents may be completely destroyed.


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