Specialty Reports: What Have They Got on Me?


Most consumers know of their right to free annual credit reports from the three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). But did you know that the same federal law that lets you see your credit reports entitles you to much more?he Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to free copies of numerous so-called specialty consumer reports. These specialty reports provide information on such matters as your medical conditions, insurance claims, check writing history, rental history, and employment history.

Comments Submitted to the Internal Revenue Service: Disclosure and Use of Tax Preparation Data Notice 2005-93 and REG-137243-02


At no time is one's expectation of privacy greater than with tax preparation. The proposed rules address privacy concerns in some important ways by requiring consumer consent where none was previously required. At the same time, the rules open the door for far more insidious privacy invasions by allowing tax return information to be used for marketing and shared by preparers with "any person."

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.

Comments to FTC on National Credit Reporting Agencies and Free Reports: Credit Reports Most People Have Never Heard Of


We urge the Commission to study national consumer reporting agencies sooner rather than later and to issue regulations giving consumers' access to free reports. In our 12-year history we have received many complaints from individuals who have been harmed or otherwise disadvantaged because of erroneous or inappropriate information in such consumer reports.

Public Records on the Internet: The Privacy Dilemma


One of the most challenging public policy issues of our time is the balancing act between access to public records and personal privacy - the difficulty of accommodating both personal privacy interests and the public interest of transparent government. I will discuss the privacy implications of making public records containing personal information available on the Internet. I list nine negative consequences of the availability of public records online. I conclude by offering 11 recommendations for safeguarding personal privacy while upholding the public policy reason for providing access, that being to promote government accountability.

Public Access to Electronic Case Files


We recognize the convenience to the courts and counsel in electronic filing, the need to reduce paper files, and the long-standing principles of public access to court proceedings. However, the PRC and EFF believe the potential for both intangible invasions of privacy by those who have no need to know and more tangible harms such as identity theft outweigh reliance on a system that provides full access to court records electronically. Convenience and storage problems in this electronic age need to be addressed, but hopefully in such a way as to protect not only the public interest by providing access to public records, but to protect privacy interests as well.

Bankruptcy, Public Records and Privacy


The PRC and EFF recognize the long-standing principle that the public interest is served by open court proceedings, and that, in fact, public disclosure of bankruptcy proceedings is mandated by statute. However, we can conceive of no public interest to be served in a system that would readily subject individuals in bankruptcy to identity thieves and unscrupulous marketing. Access to an individual's personal information is obviously required in order for court personnel and bankruptcy trustees to do their jobs. But, access beyond this necessity to Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers and other personal information on the Internet would seem to be an invitation for abuse.

Merging County Social Services Data Bases: Privacy Pitfalls and a Policy Solution


My presentation will focus on the privacy implications of the integration of health and human services. I am going to spend most of my time describing a set of privacy principles which I believe are essential to guide the merger and use of information from several agencies and department. These are called the Fair Information Principles.

FTC Consumer Privacy Workshops: Data Base Study



In September 1996, there was a flurry of controversy surrounding the sale of personal information by the Lexis-Nexis company vis-a-vis its P-TRAK service. Although much of the brouhaha centered on the sale of Social Security numbers, which Lexis-Nexis had curtailed a few months earlier, the public outcry illustrated a growing concern about electronic privacy. The Lexis-Nexis phone lines were jammed with people requesting that their records be deleted from the P-TRAK data base.

What most of these people did not realize is that Lexis-Nexis is not the only seller of personally identifiable information.

Comments In Opposition to the Court Technnology Committee Draft Rule: Access to Electronic Records


The Draft Rule endorsed by the Court Technology Committee would require that all records a court makes available to the public also be made available electronically. This Draft Rule is actually the recommendation of only the minority of members of the Privacy and Access Subcommittee. The majority recommended an Alternate Draft Rule ("Alternate Rule") which would require electronic access only to specified index information in case files, exclusive of all non-public data and references to cases, courts or persons, other than the parties and their attorneys.

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