Identity Theft Precautions for California State Employees

The Teale Data Center for the State of California has reported a security breach in the data base that holds payroll deduction information for all state government employees. According to news reports, officials for the Data Center are quite certain that data was not removed, although they are not entirely certain. One of the data elements in the data base is employee Social Security number (SSN). The incident apparently occurred in April 2002.

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

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.

Oversight Hearing On Financial Privacy and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act

ongress knew that the 1999 Gramm-Leach Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act (GLBA) - a law long-sought by the financial industry to encourage the creation of integrated financial services firms -- would exacerbate already-identified financial privacy threats. So  Congress incorporated Title V to protect financial privacy, which included the following five key provisions. The most important and most successful is the last: the fail-safe states' rights provision allowing states to enact stronger financial privacy laws.

Full-Page Ad Distorts Facts about SB 773, California Financial Privacy Bill

The group's name, as well as its web site's address,, bely the Coalition's true colors. It is an industry-backed organization, comprised of the California Chamber of Commerce and the major financial industry trade associations in the state.

The Coalition's newspaper ad contains outright distortions about the provisions of SB 773. Here are some examples.

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.

North Dakota Votes for "Opt-In" Financial Privacy

On June 11, 2002, voters in North Dakota spoke overwhelmingly in favor of financial privacy. A referendum which would prohibit banks from sharing, selling or otherwise disclosing personal financial information succeeded by a majority of three to one. This confirms what polls have been telling us for years. Consumers feel strongly about privacy, particularly when it comes to the sensitive information in bank records.

Big Brother and the Hiring Process (Kelly)

Perhaps, as the unemployment rate continues upward, it might be appropriate to focus on subjects less lofty than the economy or the administration's policy toward it. Let's instead examine job applications and the human-relations people who review them.

Looked for a job lately? If you have, you know that just to apply you must reveal:

Your social security number.

Your complete educational background, regardless of relevance to the position, as well as the location of each school.

Your complete work history, whether relevant to the position or not.

Health Privacy: The Way We Live Now (Gellman)

A colleague called last week to discuss medical privacy. It was a personal matter. He recently had a medical procedure that he did not describe. He doesn't want me or anyone to know anything about his diagnosis or treatment. I didn't ask for details. For purpose of this article, I will identify my friend as Fred (not his real name).

Fred was contacted by a researcher who got his name from his physician. Fred was surprised at the call because he didn't give permission for his information to be disclosed to any researcher. It wasn't clear whether the researcher knew anything about Fred's condition. The study was designed to compare people who did and did not have the same condition so the physician may have only said that Fred qualified for the study. Fred couldn't ask more without disclosing the information that he was trying to keep secret.

Et tu, School Board? An Essay on Fingerprinting of School Volunteers (Ritchey)

It was not one of our proudest moments. Groups of mothers with young toddlers bundled against a cold January wind struggled up the school administration stairs. Inside they joined senior volunteers waiting endlessly in a narrow hallway to be . appreciated? . honored? No, mugged and fingerprinted. Upon exiting, their facial expressions and reactions belied the spin congenially furthered by both the Times-News and School Superintendent Dr. Burnham, "We've had one complaint since the time we've started implementing this," he said. There may be a few people who are not appreciative, but for the most part we've had good support from volunteers and parents."


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