RFID Position Statement of Consumer Privacy and Civil Liberties Organizations

RFID tags are tiny computer chips connected to miniature antennae that can be affixed to physical objects. In the most commonly touted applications of RFID, the microchip contains an Electronic Product Code (EPC) with sufficient capacity to provide unique identifiers for all items produced worldwide. When an RFID reader emits a radio signal, tags in the vicinity respond by transmitting their stored data to the reader. While there are beneficial uses of RFID, some attributes of the technology could be deployed in ways that threaten privacy and civil liberties.

Privacy Tips for Tax Season

You may be resigned to giving the government your money this tax season, but watch out for fraudsters looking for a piece of the action. Your tax forms contain sensitive information, including your Social Security Number. Taxpayers have a choice of filing by mail or electronically. Consumers may use personal software, professional services, or old-fashioned pencil and paper. Either way you can bet there is a fraudster ready with a scam. The following tips can help protect your privacy.

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

The group's name, as well as its web site's address, www.caprivacyprotection.org, 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.

Real ID Act Will Increase Exposure to ID Theft

If you think identity theft is bad now, wait until something called the Real ID Act goes into effect. This law federalizes and standardizes state driver’s licenses for all 50 states, and it will result in something that has been resisted in this country for a long time -- a de facto national identity card.
The Real ID Act was pushed through Congress in 2005 with little meaningful debate. It imposes sweeping changes on state driver’s licenses that will result in significant new fees and hassles for everyone who needs a license or ID – not to mention posing a new threat to Americans’ privacy. And, our experience suggests that if Real ID becomes the standard for driver’s licenses, it will worsen the problem of identity theft.

Watch Out for "Phishing" Emails Attempting to Capture Your Personal Information

Email users are being bombarded with authentic-looking messages that instruct them to provide sensitive personal information. It's called "phising." Individuals who "bite" are exposed to identity theft.

Phishing occurs when a consumer receives a deceptively-legitimate looking email from what appears to be a reputable company. The email asks recipients to update their credit card information or their account will be promptly terminated. Or the message offers a service to protect their credit cards from possible fraud.

Confusing E-Mail about Opt-Out Number Sends the Wrong Message

An unknown individual has broadcast an electronic mail message that has reached tens of thousands of consumers, confusing them with information that is only half correct.

The message explains, erroneously, that as of July 1, 2003, "the four major credit bureaus in the US will be allowed . to release your credit info, mailing addresses, phone numbers..... to anyone who requests it." This is not correct.

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.

Consumers on the Do Not Call Registry Allege Telemarketing Calls by Mortgage Concepts

Consumers in Southern California say they have been receiving calls from a company called Mortgage Concepts even though they are on the National Do Not Call Registry. The pre-recorded outbound sales calls ask consumers to push a number on their phone if they are the homeowner. They are then asked additional questions such as whether they are in the market to refinance their mortgage and are told a representative from Mortgage Concepts will call them back. When a representative does call them back, the company does not disclose information about their whereabouts.

Bogus Job Ads Attempt to Obtain Consumer Bank Account Data

The World Privacy Forum and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse have become aware of a nationwide job scam currently in action. We are advising job seekers to avoid any response to job ads coming from Macrocommerce Intersales and to be aware of the high potential for financial fraud and /or identity theft if they have already responded to job ads from this company.


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