PRC Recommends Wireless Cell Phone 411 Directory Should be Complete Opt In

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) advocates that the wireless 411 directory that is slated to be launched in early 2005 provide a strict opt-in mechanism that requires express consent before cell phone numbers are listed in the directory. The PRC also believes that federal legislation should be strengthened to ensure this standard is met.

"We believe there are several reasons to recommend the opt-in standard, one being privacy," said Jordana Beebe, PRC Communications Director. Though the wireless industry touts their directory will be an opt-in standard, Beebe counters, "We are also concerned about the unregulated wireless industry overseeing the directory without legislative oversight."

Free Credit Reports to End

The only credit reporting bureau to offer free credit reports to consumers will halt this practice March 1, 1997.

Experian, formerly known as TRW, has been providing free credit reports since 1992. It had expected the other two major credit bureaus, Equifax and Trans Union, to follow suit, but that has not happened. Further, consumer advocates had pushed Congress to mandate free credit reports when it was considering amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 1996. But instead, legislators capped the price at $8 per report.

Nowhere to Turn: Victims Speak Out on Identity Theft - A Survey of Identity Theft Victims and Recommendations for Reform

Identity theft is a growing crisis in the United States. As the crime becomes more visible, stories of victims' complex experiences permeate the media. Identity theft occurs when someone invades your life, taking pieces of your personal identifying information as his or her own, and ruins your financial reputation. In addition, victims of this crime face extreme difficulties attempting to clear the damaged credit, or even criminal record, caused by the thief.

Groups Oppose Data Mining of Health Information by Financial Institutions

Today, the Health Privacy Project (HPP), the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and 28 other groups, including the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, opposing any changes to the new medical privacy regulation that would give a green light to banks and other financial institutions to access sensitive, personal medical information. The organizations include health care advocacy, labor, consumer, disability rights, and health care provider groups.

What Is HealthVault? Things to Think About Before You Participate

HealthVault is Microsoft's new service for storing, managing, and accessing a patient's medical information. www.healthvault.com  It operates as an online encrypted service.  The service offers a voluntary opportunity for medical records to be collected by aggregating information from various sources including health-care providers, insurance companies, and compatible medical devices (such as blood pressure monitoring devices).

Request Disclosure of Information Sharing Under California's Shine the Light Act

On January 1, 2005, California's Shine the Light Act came into effect. For more information about the Act, see the PRC's press release at www.privacyrights.org/ar/SB27Release.htm. In essence, certain businesses must provide California residents with a way to find out what personal information has been shared and with whom within the twelve months prior to receiving your request for disclosure.

California Security Breach Notification Law Goes into Effect July 1, 2003

Beginning on July 1, state government agencies as well as companies and nonprofit organizations regardless of geographic location must notify California customers if personal information maintained in computerized data files have been compromised by unauthorized access.

San Mateo Co. (California) Board of Supervisors Unanimously Adopts Financial Information Privacy Ordinance

Redwood City - The Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted an ordinance today to protect consumers' financial information privacy. With this ordinance, San Mateo County has become the first jurisdiction in California to provide consumers privacy protections in excess of those found in federal law, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. This ordinance would require financial institutions to ask for and receive consumerís permission before disclosing consumerís confidential information to third parties.

10 Tips for Safe and Private Holiday Shopping

As the holidays approach, consumers are more likely to be visiting crowded stores and malls.  Scam artists and fraudsters know this, so they are likely to be lurking there too.  Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is pleased to offer these helpful tips to protect yourself during this often hectic holiday season.

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