Thirty-One Privacy and Civil Liberties Organizations Urge Google to Suspend Gmail


The World Privacy Forum and 30 other privacy and civil liberties organizations have written a letter calling upon Google to suspend its Gmail service until the privacy issues are adequately addressed. The letter also calls upon Google to clarify its written information policies regarding data retention and data sharing among its business units.

Federal Agencies' Joint Request for Comment: Alternative Forms of Privacy Notices


The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) requires financial institutions to give customers annual notice of how personal information is collected and disclosed, and, under limited circumstances, a means for customers to control information flow. The notices delivered to consumers, beginning with the effective date of July 1, 2001, until now have generated substantial criticism from all interested parties. As the ANPR notes, there have been broad-based concerns expressed by representatives of financial institutions, consumers, privacy advocates, and Members of Congress.

In response to numerous concerns expressed by all stakeholders about privacy notices, the FTC convened a workshop in December 2001, just five months after financial institutions were required to send the initial privacy notice to customers. To further address these continuing concerns, the Agencies have published the ANPR. That the Agencies are willing to revisit the issue of clear notice to consumers by considering a short-form notice is an encouraging sign for consumer privacy interests.

Prevent Identity Theft with Responsible Information-Handling Practices in the Workplace


Experts in identity theft report that an increasing number of cases can be traced back to dishonest employees in the workplace who obtain the sensitive personal information of employees and customers and disclose it to identity thieves. One of the keys to preventing identity theft, therefore, is to safeguard personal information within the workplace, whether it's a business, government agency, or nonprofit. Targets for identity thieves include SSNs, driver's license numbers, financial account numbers, PINs, passcodes, and dates of birth.

Financial Privacy Notices: Shorter is Better


For business, the goal should be not only to provide a notice that satisfies the legal requirement, but one that consumers can easily understand. Although practices may vary from company to company, the bottom line is always the same: Companies either share information with affiliates and third parties or not. Consumers either have the right to opt-out or they don't.

Compliance vs. Communication: Readability of HIPAA Notices (Hochhauser)


In April 2003, patients in the US began receiving Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy notices from their doctors, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other "covered entities" that use their personal health information. As part of the HIPAA regulatory guidelines, privacy notices were to be written in "plain language." They are not.

PRC Takes Aim at CAPPS II


Today several consumer privacy organizations including the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse submitted joint comments regarding the CAPPS II program. At the same time, the PRC filed suit against JetBlue Airways for violating its privacy policy in regards to sharing information about its passengers with third parties.

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.

July 1st Privacy Notice Deadline is For Banks, Not Customers


Financial institutions have until July 1, 2001, to send privacy notices to their customers. The notices are required by the Financial Services Modernization Act, also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act or GLB.

"Consumers have a continuing right to opt-out," said Tena Friery, Research Director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. "This applies even if notices have been lost or, as is quite common, mistaken for "junk mail" and thrown in the trash."

Financial Privacy Notices: Do They Really Want You to Know What They're Saying?


"Because we value your privacy.. we may sell your personal financial information." Does this make sense? Of course, not. But, that is precisely the message many banks and other financial companies are now sending to their customers. However, this message -- blurred by fine print, big words, long sentences and marketing jargon -- is far from clear.

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