It's Back-to-School Time: Parents, Do You Know Where Your Child's School Records Are?

The PRC advises parents to pay close attention to documents and forms that students bring home from school. Among them is likely to be an opt-out form regarding the disclosure of students' education records. But if the parent does not sign the form instructing the school to NOT disclose the student's personal information to others, the school is free to release "directoy information." Directory information is NOT a small category. It can include the student's name, address, phone number, and date of birth, as well as major field of study, activities and sports, weight and height if on athletic teams, dates of attendance, and degrees and awards.

Criminal Identity Theft in California: Seeking Solutions to the "Worst Case Scenario"

Criminal identity theft occurs when an imposter gives another person’s name and personal information, such as a Social Security number, driver’s license number, and date of birth, to a law enforcement officer upon arrest or during an investigation. Or the imposter may give to law enforcement a counterfeit driver’s license or identification card containing another person’s information.  Read Beth Given's presentation at the Identity Theft Summit in 2005.

The ChoicePoint Data Security Breach (Feb. '05): What It Means for You

Data aggregators compile in-depth dossiers of personal information on almost everyone, even though many have never heard of them, have never had an account with them, nor have given them permission to obtain personal information. Until recently, many Americans had never heard of ChoicePoint, one of the largest data aggregators. But with recent information coming to light that identity thieves opened 50 accounts to access ChoicePoint’s databases of personal information, many people are just realizing that companies like ChoicePoint exist.

Call Don't Click: Why It Is Smarter to Order a Federally Mandated Credit Report Via the Phone Instead of the Internet

new report issued today by Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum (www.worldprivacyforum.org) in advance of the March 1 rollout of free credit reports to Midwest residents, shows that consumers may be better off calling or mailing for their federally mandated free credit report instead of going online for it.

Regarding the Privacy Implications of the Proposed National Health Information Network (NHIN)

The proposed National Health Information Network embodies a presidential mandate to bring information technology to healthcare by making complete patient records available to providers, regardless of location.

In responding to the questions asked in the RFI, we will discuss matters of privacy and security, and also whether standardization of healthcare information may ultimately be detrimental to patient treatment.

Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in Employment Screening

Terrorist threats, workplace violence, and reported abuse of vulnerable segments of the population have contributed to a dramatic increase in criminal records checks. Advances in technology have also made criminal history checks faster, less expensive, and easy to obtain from a variety of sources.

Existing problems in the employment screening process - particularly with accuracy - can lead to chronic unemployment or dismissal from a longstanding job. The job applicant or employee has virtually no rights to have an adverse decision reconsidered, even when decisions are based on inaccurate information. Any standards for access by private employers and commercial data vendors must go beyond the current requirements of the FCRA.

Comments to Federal Agencies Regarding the Use of Personal Medical Data by Financial Institutions

When it comes to privacy, consumer expectations and fears are most elevated for sensitive data included in medical records. A major concern is potential secondary uses of medical information. For example, a consumer may understandably be concerned that a medical condition could adversely affect the ability to get a job or a mortgage. In recent amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Congress acted to address the discriminatory use of medical information in credit transactions.

Privacy Groups Urge Federal Reserve Board to Protect Consumers from Identity Theft and Stolen Convenience Checks

As the Board is well aware, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that identity theft claims nearly 10 million victims annually, costing millions to consumers and business alike. Significantly, a high percentage of identity theft complaints involve fraudulent use of open-end (revolving) credit products, particularly credit cards. Unsolicited credit products such as convenience checks and activated cards sent through the mail create opportunities for theft. For this reason, we limit our comments here to questions posed by the Board that have broad implications for victims of identity theft.

Groups Ask FTC to Stop Blocking Links to Free Credit Report Site, www.annualcreditreport.com

While a number of issues regarding www.annualcreditreport.com need to be corrected, one issue stands out as critically important to correct immediately. That is, the active blocking of Web linking to the annualcreditreport.com site is harming consumers right now, and does not serve any apparent purpose other than to direct consumers to for-pay services at the credit bureaus.

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