Promises of Telemarketing Do-Not-Call Lists And What to Do While You Wait

Fed-up with unwanted telemarketing calls, consumers are anxious to add their telephone number to a do-not-call list. Interest has been fueled by recent media reports of a new do-not-call list soon to launched in California. When this happens, California will join about 20 other states that already have do-not-call lists.

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has adopted rules that will establish a national do-not-call registry, and the FTC may be joined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in this effort.

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).

For Egghead.com customers, from the President and CEO of Egghead -- Deadline Sept. 21, 2001

Dear Valued Egghead.com Customer,

As you know from my previous letter, Egghead.com has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is in the process of selling its ongoing business.  As part of the sale process, Egghead.com has entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with Fry's Electronics but other companies will be given the opportunity to outbid Fry's.  As a result, another company might be approved by the court as the actual buyer.  We plan to complete the sale soon and in no event later than September 30, 2001.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Honors Pioneer Award Winners: San Francisco Ceremony for Gillmor, Givens, DeCSS Writers

The online civil liberties group chose to honor Dan Gillmor for his commitment to accurate and cutting edge reporting on cybertech issues; Beth Givens for her dedicated work in fighting for consumers' privacy rights and in raising public awareness on privacy issues; and the DeCSS Writers, to be accepted by Jon Johansen, for their pioneering work on the pivotal program that enabled the development of a DVD player that runs on the Linux operating system.

Want to Buy a $37 Soda?

Pay with a debit card and that refreshing soda on a hot day may give your wallet chills. Because of the way that most banks process debit card transactions, a $2.00 soda can generate $35 in bank fees. In this alert, we’ll highlight basic steps consumers should take to avoid the pernicious cycle of overdrafts and bank fees

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

Robert Gellman has released a paper on the costs of NOT protecting privacy. The March 26, 2002, white paper is titled "Privacy, Consumers, and Costs: How The Lack of Privacy Costs Consumers and Why Business Studies of Privacy Costs Are Biased and Incomplete."

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.

Calling All Direct Marketers to Heed the "Fair Information Practices"

In our nearly five years of experience in operating the hotline for California consumers, no other topic has garnered the response that unwanted mail does -- not even media reports on medical records or workplace privacy, where the consequences of privacy abuse are likely to be far more serious. In 1994, unwanted mail was the number one topic of complaint on the hotline, accounting for nearly one-third of calls.

What's going on here?

Our analysis of the "junk mail phenomenom" focuses on control. Every day, consumers are reminded that they have virtually no control over what enters their mail box.

The Privacy Implications of Cloud Computing

When users store their data with programs hosted on someone else's hardware, they lose a degree of control over their sensitive information. The responsibility for protecting that information from hackers and internal data breaches then falls into the hands of the hosting company rather than the individual user. Government investigators trying to subpoena information could approach that company without informing the data's owners. Some companies could even willingly share sensitive data with marketing firms. So there is a privacy risk in putting your data in someone else's hands. Obviously, the safest approach is to maintain your data under your own control.

California Consumers: On Hold for New Telemarketing "Do Not Call" List

Few things annoy consumers more than intrusive telemarketing calls ­- which always come at the wrong time. Thanks to a new law, consumers can sign up to be on a statewide "do not call" list.

Many Californians have read about the new law and are anxious to be on the list. However, the sign-up does not start until January of 2003. Then, for just $1.00, consumers can be included on the list for three years.

Potential Identity Theft Scam Related to Terrorist Attacks

The media, law enforcement officials, and consumer organizations have been alerting the public of potential harmful scams, including charity scams, as a result of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

The Identity Theft Resource Center and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse also urge media outlets and consumer organizations to alert the public of two potential identity theft-related situations that might arise from the recent World Trade Towers disasters.

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