Social Security Numbers in the Private Sector: Comments to the FTC


Consumers often are coerced into providing an SSN as a means of authentication or verification, where appropriate authentication could be achieved through other means.  Our PRC consumer hotline receives numerous calls from concerned individuals who are reluctant to provide this information either by telephone or online.  They have heard the warnings about guarding their SSNs to protect themselves from identity theft.  Yet paradoxically, they are afraid to take advantage of two important services that can help reduce their potential exposure to identity theft.

Interagency Proposal for Model Privacy Form under the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC)1 is pleased to comment on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR)2 to simplify the consumer disclosures required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLB”). With only a few minor suggestions, the PRC endorses and fully supports the model form adopted by the agencies. We direct our comments as follows:

Prerecorded Telemarketing Calls: The Need for Industry Reform


VMBC petitioned the Commission to amend the TSR to allow prerecorded telemarketing calls to consumers when the caller has a claimed business relation. If accepted, an EBR exception for prerecorded sales calls would have created a major loophole, opening the door for a dramatic increase in unwanted calls to consumers who had placed their telephone numbers on the national Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry.

Identity Theft Red Flags and Address Discrepancies under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003


The detection of red flags and the need to reconcile address discrepancies are among the most important anti-identity theft measures included in FACTA. Effective business policies and practices that spot attempted and actual identity theft early have great potential for relieving this national crime wave. This was the promise and Congress’ intent when it directed the Agencies to adopt Red Flag Regulations along with procedures to reconcile address discrepancies in credit reports.

Comments on HHS Request for Information: Voluntary Storage of Personal Data in Preparation for Emergencies


The notion of a 21st Century vault for storing personal data for emergency use has a great deal of initial appeal. However, just below the surface lurk multiple concerns about the ability of any existing system -- or even one that could be constructed -- to ensure the public has adequate data privacy and security.

Comments to the FTC on Accuracy in Background Checks and Insurance Reports


The FTC should separately undertake a review of inaccuracies in employment reports and insurance claims reports.  From our experience, job applicants and employees encounter significant problems when an erroneous criminal history is reported to an employer. Local, state and federal court records are public records that are available to anyone and are not compiled for the purpose of furnishing data to consumer reporting agencies.

Prohibit Debt Collectors from Calling Cell Phones: Comments to the FCC


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC)1 appreciates the opportunity to comment, opposing ACA International's (ACA)2 Petition. The ACA asks the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) to exempt debt collectors from cell phone privacy rules adopted under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).3 We urge the Commission to deny this Petition.

Keeping Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) Private: Comments to the FCC


Consumers expect that their telephone calling records will remain private and unavailable to third parties without the customer's knowledge and authorization. Yet, it is clear that this expectation is unrealistic, evidenced by the findings in the Petition for Rulemaking submitted to the Commission by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).3

EPIC's Petition as well as recent news reports, state and federal legislative proposals, and government lawsuits against data brokers all point to a disturbing situation: Not only are current safeguards for customer calling records inadequate, but those that exist are being blatantly ignored.

The Tradeoff between Privacy and Openness in Employment Screening


We have heard from several individuals who have described their experiences with background checks that retrieve wrongful criminal records. Even after they have informed the employer that the background report is in error, they've learned that it's too late. The employer has moved on to another applicant, or perhaps is so risk-averse that the employer does not want the hassle of dealing with someone with a tarnished record, even though it's erroneous.

Comments Submitted to the Internal Revenue Service: Disclosure and Use of Tax Preparation Data Notice 2005-93 and REG-137243-02


At no time is one's expectation of privacy greater than with tax preparation. The proposed rules address privacy concerns in some important ways by requiring consumer consent where none was previously required. At the same time, the rules open the door for far more insidious privacy invasions by allowing tax return information to be used for marketing and shared by preparers with "any person."

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