Keep Your Internet Searches Private


Internet users were shocked to learn that the search queries of over 600,000 individuals were exposed online by AOL recently. Although the personal names of AOL users had been replaced with numbers, apparently for a research project, reporters and others were able to determine the identities of several people. Ixquick, a search engine based in the Netherlands, promises it will permanently delete all users’ personal search details from its log files.

Who Is Using Your Checkbook? FDIC Warns About Qchex.com


While many consumers are scrambling to reduce their risk of identity theft, one business appears to be making it easier than ever to forge checks. Qchex.com allows customers to create checks without verifying the account holder's identity, according to authorities.

Call Don't Click: Why It Is Smarter to Order a Federally Mandated Credit Report Via the Phone Instead of the Internet


new report issued today by Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum (www.worldprivacyforum.org) in advance of the March 1 rollout of free credit reports to Midwest residents, shows that consumers may be better off calling or mailing for their federally mandated free credit report instead of going online for it.

Phishing Emails Can Lead to Domain Registration for Scam Web Sites


"Phishing" emails are sent by scam artists and are disguised to look like they come for a legitimate financial institution or other online vendor such as eBay or PayPal. The PRC has received reports from those who have replied to phishing emails with their name, address and phone number who later learned that their personal information was used by the phisher to register web site domains. At times, if they also provided a legitimate credit card number, it may be used to pay for the web site registration, too.

Online Information Brokers and Your Privacy


There are many websites that sell or provide for free, personal information about individuals. This information is gathered from many sources including white pages listings (directory assistance), publicly-available sources and public records.

Privacy Groups Urge Gov. Schwarzenegger to Veto Spyware Bill


The California-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the World Privacy Forum urge you to veto SB 1436, a bill dealing with spyware, authored by Senator Kevin Murray.  While this bill is well-intentioned, it would establish provisions that are virtually unenforceable, could well undermine existing law, and further, would set a bad precedent nationwide for other spyware bills that are likely to be considered in other states and in Congress.

Study Shows Most Online Pharmacies Lack HIPAA Privacy Notice


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC)1, along with readability expert Mark Hochhauser, Ph.D., is writing to call your attention to a recent survey of online pharmacies, and, in particular, the failure of most sites to post a HIPAA Privacy Notice.

In conducting this survey, Dr. Hochhauser visited 50 online pharmacy web sites. Of the 50, only 11 sites (22%) included a HIPAA Privacy Notice. The 11 sites that had a HIPAA privacy notice also posted a web site privacy policy.

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.

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