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.

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.

Privacy Today: A Review of Current Issues

The purpose of this report is to highlight and summarize key privacy issues affecting consumers today and tomorrow. Readers who want to explore issues in depth should visit the Web sites of government agencies, public interest groups, industry associations, and companies. A list of public interest groups that are working on these issues is provided at the end of the report.

Watch Out for "Phishing" Emails Attempting to Capture Your Personal Information

Email users are being bombarded with authentic-looking messages that instruct them to provide sensitive personal information. It's called "phising." Individuals who "bite" are exposed to identity theft.

Phishing occurs when a consumer receives a deceptively-legitimate looking email from what appears to be a reputable company. The email asks recipients to update their credit card information or their account will be promptly terminated. Or the message offers a service to protect their credit cards from possible fraud.

What Is HealthVault? Things to Think About Before You Participate

HealthVault is Microsoft's new service for storing, managing, and accessing a patient's medical information. www.healthvault.com  It operates as an online encrypted service.  The service offers a voluntary opportunity for medical records to be collected by aggregating information from various sources including health-care providers, insurance companies, and compatible medical devices (such as blood pressure monitoring devices).

Privacy Expectations in a High Tech World

Now, we're experiencing the explosion of commerce on the Internet. Web sites are able to capture data from their visitors, and to merge that data with other information. With the exception of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and a smattering of state laws regulating spam, or unsolicited electronic mail, there is little regulation of data collection on the Net.

So, what are consumers' experiences on the Net concerning their privacy? I will list several themes that I've observed in talking to consumers and in following news stories about online privacy abuses in recent months.

The Emperor's New Clothes: Privacy on the Internet in 1999

The most irrefutable finding of the May 1999 Internet Privacy Policy Survey (hereinafter called the Survey) is that collection of personally identifiable information is the norm on commercial web sites. The Survey found that 93% of the sites in the sample (n=364) collect at least one type of personal information (such as name, email address, postal address). Only 7% of the sites collect no information.(2)

For Egghead.com customers, from the President and CEO of Egghead -- Deadline Sept. 21, 2001

Dear Valued Egghead.com Customer,

As you know from my previous letter, Egghead.com has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is in the process of selling its ongoing business.  As part of the sale process, Egghead.com has entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with Fry's Electronics but other companies will be given the opportunity to outbid Fry's.  As a result, another company might be approved by the court as the actual buyer.  We plan to complete the sale soon and in no event later than September 30, 2001.

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