The Proliferation of Online Information Brokers: Noncompliance with Their Own Privacy Policies and Other Problems

There are dozens of information brokers in the marketplace today that make information about individuals widely available, often with no questions asked, some of them at no charge and others for a fee.

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.

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.

Letter to County Tax Equalizer Director: You Do Not Have Permission to Post a Photo of Our Home on the Internet

We do not give permission to the county of Grand Forks, to the state of North Dakota,  to any government entity, or official, to take a picture of our home and place it on the internet.  Privacy concerns of the citizens of Grand Forks should be addressed, as well as public interests when placing property tax information on the internet.

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."

Private Investigators in California: Analysis of the PIA and Case Law (Caragozian)

Lawyers often engage private investigators for sensitive assignments, such as conducting surveillance, obtaining admissions, and finding assets. Many lawyers do not know how investigators perform their work; other lawyers do not want to know. However, ignorance may not be bliss for California lawyers and investigators. In fact, it can be dangerous.

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.

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.

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