The New Year’s Biggest Privacy Risks


Many Americans are wrapping up a holiday season filled with online shopping, Facebook status updates, and gifts of smartphones and eBook readers. Now that the New Year is upon us, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is urging Americans to pay attention to the privacy risks that accompany these trending technologies.

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.

Shred It, Don't Forget It!


With tax season ending, do you ever wonder what to do with your personal and financial records? Which ones do you need to save for tax or other purposes? While some people like to save things forever, others want to immediately toss out unnecessary clutter.

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

Scare Away Scammers


Most people are aware of the dangers posed by scams that claim to be originating from a business.  But what if you receive an e-mail, phone call, or letter claiming to come from a government agency?  Many consumers are likely to assume that such communications are legitimate because they appear to come from the government.

Unfortunately, these types of scams do occur.  Communications may claim to be from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, Medicare, your local Commissioner of Jurors, or other government agencies.  Learn about some of the recents scams and what you should do to avoid becoming a victim.

Resolve to Be a Privacy Advocate in 2010


We at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse wish you a happy, prosperous and private new year.  This year, resolve to be a privacy advocate.  Use our 10 tips to minimize your risk of identity theft, protect your personal information and assert your rights to privacy. 

Our guide for 2010 will teach you how to be assertive in defending your privacy, find out how much of your personal information is stored in consumer reports and exercise caution while using online social networks.

Privacy Resolutions: Make 2007 Prosperous and Private!


We at the PRC wish you a happy, prosperous and private new year. For 2007, resolve to do what you can to guard against identity theft and stop unwanted intrusions via your mailbox, telephone, or fax machine. When it comes to privacy, there are no guarantees. But the following resolutions are a good way to start off the new year.

FTC Disposal Rule: Does it Apply to You?


The goal of the Disposal Rule is to reduce identity theft and other fraud through greater protection of consumer information. The rule applies to consumer reporting agencies like credit bureaus, employment or tenant screening companies, as well as companies that compile information and sell reports on medical history, check writing history and insurance claims. Significantly, the Disposal Rule also applies to any business that uses such reports.

The Saga of Shredding in the U.S.: A Privacy Advocate's Perspective


Even though since those "early years" in our identity theft work shredding has become a household word and shredders are a common household item, trash is still a lucrative source of Social Security numbers and other useful bits of personal information for those who perpetrate identity theft.

What's Missing from This Picture?: Comments to FTC "Information Flows" Workshop


"The free flow of information." This phrase has a deceptively appealing ring to it, almost patriotic in tone. We have heard it used frequently by industry representatives during the workshop today. What are some of the consequences of the free flow of information?

New Privacy Study Challenges Industry Assertions on the Cost of Protecting Consumers' Privacy (Gellman)


Robert Gellman has released a paper on the costs of NOT protecting privacy. The March 26, 2002, white paper is titled "Privacy, Consumers, and Costs: How The Lack of Privacy Costs Consumers and Why Business Studies of Privacy Costs Are Biased and Incomplete."

Privacy is an elusive, value-laden concept, and it is hard to reach consensus on a definition. In recent, self-serving studies, the business community seized upon this lack of clarity to distort debates about the true costs of privacy - costs to individuals, society and to the business community itself. These studies have led to a mainly one-sided public discussion of privacy, overstating the costs to businesses, ignoring the costs consumers incur to protect their privacy, and understating the benefits that privacy offers to commerce and to society.

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