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.

Comments to California Dept. of Public Health: Medical Information Breach Regulations

Consumers enter a hospital or another care facility in California should not have to worry that their health and financial data might end up on a social networking website, in the tabloids, in a dumpster, or in the hands of an identity thief. Yet, instances of the breach of healthcare data in California continue at an alarming pace.

Eight Reasons to be Skeptical of a "Technology Fix" for Protecting Privacy

I'm going to begin by listing just a few of the many technology-based services that are available now or are soon to be launched. I will then list eight reasons why I am not convinced that these services are the entire answer to safeguarding consumer privacy.

Then, to close, I will discuss approaches that I believe are more likely to provide meaningful protection of our personal privacy.

Radio Frequency Identification: Applications and Implications for Consumers

Industry representatives have described the numerous benefits of RFID in today's workshop. But RFID is a classic information technology in that there is a potential downside as well. If the technology is implemented irresponsibly, we as a society could experience it not as a wonderful convenience with many social benefits, but as a tool for consumer profiling and tracking -- in other words, as one part of a larger surveillance infrastructure.

Uses of Social Security Numbers in the Private Sector: Why SSNs Are Not Appropriate for Authentication

The SSN has evolved since its establishment in 1935 and implementation in 1936 to be used as both an identifier and an authenticator. 

This morning, we heard from a panel of experts on the use of the Social Security number as an identifier.  As an identifier, the SSN is provided by individuals to answer the question, “Who are you?” As an authenticator, the topic of this panel, the SSN is provided by individuals in response to a challenge: “Prove who you are.”

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