Disclosure Accounting: Comments Submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights

 In adopting the final HIPAA Privacy Rule (Privacy Rule) in 2003, OCR included a section outlining a patient’s right to receive an accounting of protected health information (PHI) disclosures. As adopted, however, the Privacy Rule includes many exceptions to the kinds of data that must be included in an accounting, one of which is that an accounting need not tell patients about disclosures made for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations.

Privacy Rights of Employees Using Workplace Computers In California

Employers and employees are concerned about computers in the workplace.  Employers worry that employees waste time, such as by chatting or shopping on-line.[1]  Employers worry too that employees create liability by viewing and circulating pornographic, racist, or other improper material.

 Employees worry about their privacy.  Software, like Specter, SurfWatch, Eblaster, Telemate, Message Inspector, Silent Watch, Websense, Little Brother, and WinWhatWhere, allows the computer owner to monitor computer use. [2]  Some software allows the owner to check users' e-mail and Web destinations; some also allows viewing of entire e-mail messages, Web images, and word processing documents.  Moreover, most of this software can be installed without alerting the computer user. [3]

 The press has reported that employees have no privacy rights whatsoever when using their employers' computers and that employers can spy at will. [4]

Beth Givens Acceptance Speech, CFA Fortieth Annual Awards Dinner

One story stands out from those early day in the mid-1990s. An elderly woman from the Bay Area phoned. She had been mugged in front of her home a few months earlier, and her purse was stolen. She survived the mugging, and was able to take care of her stolen credit cards and her checking account. But she explained that it was far more difficult to deal with the brand new credit accounts opened in her name.

She told me that she kept notes on the steps she had needed to take in order to clean up her credit report. Was I interested in what she had learned?

I said “yes, of course!”  I copied down each of her steps, added other information from our files and logs – and that became our first guide on identity theft – a guide that has been updated and revised dozens of times since.

Comments to Health and Human Services: Privacy and Security Rule Modification

The Heath Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 calls for certain changes to previously issued HHS rules regarding privacy of individuals’ medical records (the Privacy Rule), security of electronic health records (Security Rule), and enforcement of the security and privacy provisions (Enforcement Rule). The current rule proposal encompasses the HITECH modifications for all three HIPAA rules.

Societal Perspectives on the Role of Privacy in Social Networking Sites

Web 2.0, or the social web, means two things for the world of privacy: 1. The end of forgetting. The information posted on the Internet has the potential to exist in perpetuity. As individuals live increasingly in cyberspace, scholars like Jeffrey Rosen and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger point out that the unforgetting and often unforgiving eye of the Internet may create a hyper-vigilant society and suppress free expression. The Internet, some have postulated, could become a modern Panopticon. 2. Casual documentation. With the rise of easily accessible social media, consumers have become content producers en masse. Consumers are not only providing location data, photographs, videos and biographical details, but they are providing to-the-moment insight into their thoughts and feelings. The community of hyper-sharing encourages others to share by example. The result? Individuals posting their every moment with what some might call narcissistic abandon.

Comments to FTC: Collection of a Deceased Person's Debt

On October 8, 2010, the FTC announced a policy regarding debt collectors’ communications with third parties regarding a decedent’s debt. In this, the FTC expands the numbers of individuals a collector may contact when the debtor is deceased. We urge the Commission to reconsider this policy or at a minimum to offer guidance for individuals who may be contacted by a collector about a deceased consumer’s debt. We further urge the Commission to reconsider its policy regarding no enforcement for deceased debtor contacts.


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