About the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
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The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through the automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable.
-----U.S. Privacy Protection Study Commission, 1977
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PRC Mission and Goals
PRC Advisory Board
Are you an individual with a privacy question or complaint?
Please use our Online Complaint Center. If you have a question, we will research it and respond to you within five business days. It is difficult for us to answer questions over the phone. Most questions we receive require some research, and we don't like to give off the cuff answers that may be less helpful.
We strive to provide you with the information and tools you need to empower yourself to take action. When you contact us, please be aware that we do not provide legal advice. But, when you contact us with a privacy issue with which we have expertise, we will do our best to steer you to helpful information.
Are you a reporter?
Please call us at (619) 298-3396. Paul Stephens is our media contact for print and radio media. If you are looking to do an on camera interview, please ask for Beth Givens.
Send us a letter? Please send any written correspondence to: 3108 Fifth Avenue, Suite A, San Diego, CA 92103
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a California nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Our mission is to engage, educate and empower individuals to protect their privacy. We identify trends and communicate our findings to advocates, policymakers, industry, media and consumers.
The PRC's goals are to:
- Raise consumers' awareness of how technology affects personal privacy.
- Empower consumers to take action to control their own personal information by providing practical tips on privacy protection.
- Respond to specific privacy-related complaints from consumers, and when appropriate, intercede on their behalf and/or refer them to the proper organizations for further assistance.
- Document the nature of consumers' complaints and questions about privacy in reports, testimony, and speeches and make them available to policy makers, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and the media.
- Advocate for consumers' privacy rights in local, state, and federal public policy proceedings, including legislative testimony, regulatory agency hearings, task forces, and study commissions as well as conferences and workshops.
- An Online Complaint Center for consumers to report privacy abuses and request information on ways to protect their privacy.
- Assistance and interviews for journalists, providing background and comments for stories.
- A referral service for journalists and policymakers who are seeking victims of privacy abuses who have indicated a willingness to talk with the media and/or testify in legislative and regulatory agency hearings.
- A speakers service, in which PRC staff make presentations at conferences, employee training sessions, and civic and community group meetings.
- Beth Givens, Director
- Paul Stephens, Director of Policy and Advocacy
- Meghan Land, Staff Attorney
- Tena Friery, Research Director
- Kimberley Gough, Consumer Advisor
- Beth Givens is founder and director of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, established in 1992. She also acts as the PRC's Chief Privacy Officer.
Givens has developed the Fact Sheet series as author and/or editor. She authored the encyclopedia entries on identity theft for Encyclopedia of Privacy (2007), World Book Encyclopedia (2004) and Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment (2002). She is author of The Privacy Rights Handbook: How to Take Control of Your Personal Information (Avon, 1997) and is co-author of Privacy Piracy: A Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft (1999). She contributed a chapter on consumer and privacy rights to the 2006 book, RFID: Applications, Security and Privacy. She co-authored a chapter on identity theft with Mari Frank in Protection, Security, and Safeguards: Practical Approaches and Perspectives, edited by Dale L. June (2013).
Givens represents the interests of consumers in public policy proceedings at the state and federal levels (California Legislature, U.S. Congress, and federal and state regulatory agencies). Her contributions to legislative hearings, regulatory workshops, and public policy conferences are found in the Speeches & Testimony section of the website. Givens is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
Givens has participated in numerous task forces and commissions including: Consumer Federation of America Identity Theft Services Best Practices Task Force, Consumer Federation of America Cloud Computing Working Group, California Judicial Council Working Group on Personal Information and Court Outsourcing, California Real ID Act Privacy & Security Work Group, and California Radio Frequency ID Advisory Committee.
She is often interviewed by the media on consumer privacy issues, including: The Willis Report, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Good Morning America, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, NPR Morning Edition, NPR Talk of the Nation, Marketplace, and major U.S. newspapers.
Prior to her work as a consumer advocate, Givens was a librarian specializing in library network development and resource sharing.
- Paul Stephens is Director of Policy and Advocacy for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. He has been associated with the PRC since 2005. Stephens has extensive experience in public policy, regulatory issues, and legislative matters. He also has considerable specialized expertise in federal rulemaking and adjudicatory proceedings. Stephens has served as advisor to several federal Commissions and councils covering a broad range of regulatory activities. He has developed numerous policy briefing papers and regulatory analyses and made presentations to a variety of civilian and military agencies. Stephens is experienced in legislative affairs, having been responsible for reviewing numerous pieces of proposed legislation.
Stephens represents the PRC in media interviews facilitating consumer awareness of important privacy issues. He develops PRC consumer educational materials including newsletters, consumer alerts, privacy tips, and fact sheets. He also conducts research in support of PRC's consumer outreach programs. Stephens has had a long time interest in consumer advocacy and privacy issues, and enjoys working to protect consumers' privacy rights.
Meghan Land is Staff Attorney for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and joined the organization in March, 2011. She focuses primarily on electronic privacy issues, and worked previously as a legal fellow with New Media Rights in the area of intellectual property. Meghan researches and writes educational materials; prepares comments for privacy-related regulatory proceedings; carries out PRCs federal policy advocacy efforts; and monitors as well as analyzes privacy law and policy developments for PRC. She is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US).
Meghan received her JD from the University of San Diego School of Law, where she served as Chief Executive Editor of the San Diego International Law Journal. In addition, she holds a BA in Journalism and French from the University of Georgia.
- Tena Friery is Research Director for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, with expertise in financial privacy, credit reporting, medical records and HIPAA, employment and volunteer background screening, telecommunications, and debt collection. She has been associated with the PRC since 1999. Prior to joining the PRC, she was a senior financial fraud investigator with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) with previous experience involving the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act in the CFTC's Office of General Counsel. In addition, she has a background as a paralegal.
Friery often represents the PRC in media interviews. She has participated in numerous public policy proceedings and conferences representing consumers' interests. Friery has also authored many Fact Sheets for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse as well as numerous comments filed with state and federal regulatory agencies.
- Kimberley Gough is Consumer Advisor for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse . Her primary responsibilities include answering consumers’ questions and complaints regarding a wide range of privacy issues. In addition, Kim administers all aspects of the Online Complaint Center and oversees the development of new features and capabilities.
Kim has worked in the technology field for nearly 20 years, focusing on software and hardware development in the medical, retail and consumer fields. She has been instrumental in creating turn-key solutions for marketing, distribution, sales, operations and IT with a strong understanding of the new technology frontier. Building on this expertise, Kim formed her own company and created a secure method of retrieving private health information.
Two strong themes throughout her career in technology and business have been privacy and security, which she brings to her work with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Kim holds a BS degree in psychology from Colorado State University.
- Mari Frank, JD, mediator and privacy consultant
- Robert Gellman, JD, privacy consultant
- Evan Hendricks, Editor / Publisher, Privacy Times
- Susan Henrichsen, retired California Deputy Attorney General
- Pastor Herrera, Jr, former Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs for Los Angeles County
- Cindy Southworth, MSW, National Network to End Domestic Violence
Recent PRC funding has been provided by the NDCHealth cy pres fund, iPod Nano cy pres fund, the Rose Foundation Consumer Privacy Rights Fund, California Consumer Protection Foundation, Roger L. Kohn Fund, and Consumer Federation of America.
- PRC Director Beth Givens was the recipient of the 2012 Albin Gruhn Award for her consumer advocacy efforts spanning 20 years as founder and director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The award was given by the Consumer Federation of California at its annual legislative reception in the California State Capitol.
- PRC Director Beth Givens was the recipient of the 2010 Consumer Federation of America's Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award.
- PRC Director Beth Givens was the recipient of the 2010 US Privacy Champion Award from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in honor of Data Privacy Day, January 28, 2010. (http://epic.org/2010/01/epic-honors-us-privacy-advocat.html)
- PRC Director Beth Givens received a 2002 Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org/awards/pioneer.html).
- PRC Director Beth Givens was a year-2000 recipient of the Brandeis Award from Privacy International (www.privacyinternational.org).
- The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and its affiliated Identity Theft Resource Center were honored with a year-2000 award from the Foundation for Improvement of Justice (www.justiceawards.com) for their work with identity theft victims.
- The PRC received the 1997 Consumer Action Award for its "outstanding service to consumers." (www.consumer-action.org)
One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is hearing from individuals who we have assisted. Visit our "Praise for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse" page to read consumer feedback.
How to Donate The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse appreciates donations from those who value the information we provide on our web site and when we assist them through replies to our inquiry form or with direct intervention. Your support of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse enables us to continue to educate consumers and advocate for stronger privacy-protection laws, regulations and industry practices. The PRC is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit. Individuals may donate to the PRC online or by printing out our contributions form and sending a check to the address above which also is on the form. Be assured that 100% of your donation will support the work of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Also, please know that we do not release the names of individual donors to others. Our organization also accepts Cy Pres funding. If you are interested in speaking with the PRC about a Cy Pres settlement award, please contact PRC Director Beth Givens.
Browse Privacy Topics
Background Checks & Workplace
Banking & Finance
Credit & Credit Reports
Harassment & Stalking
Identity Theft & Data Breaches
Online Privacy & Technology
Privacy When You Shop
Public Records & Info Brokers
Social Security Numbers
Who We Are
We are a nationally recognized consumer education and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to protecting the privacy of American consumers.