Online Information Brokers and Your Privacy

There are many websites that sell or provide for free, personal information about individuals. This information is gathered from many sources including white pages listings (directory assistance), publicly-available sources and public records.

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."

Prevent Identity Theft with Responsible Information-Handling Practices in the Workplace

Experts in identity theft report that an increasing number of cases can be traced back to dishonest employees in the workplace who obtain the sensitive personal information of employees and customers and disclose it to identity thieves. One of the keys to preventing identity theft, therefore, is to safeguard personal information within the workplace, whether it's a business, government agency, or nonprofit. Targets for identity thieves include SSNs, driver's license numbers, financial account numbers, PINs, passcodes, and dates of birth.

Google's Email Service 'Gmail' Sacrifices Privacy for Extra Storage Space

Consumers attracted by the extra server storage space that other free email services like Yahoo and Hotmail just can't offer, may not know that those benefits come at a high cost to their privacy. 

For instance: "Residual copies of email may remain on our systems, even after you have deleted them from your mailbox or after the termination of your account."

    Financial Privacy Notices: Shorter is Better

    For business, the goal should be not only to provide a notice that satisfies the legal requirement, but one that consumers can easily understand. Although practices may vary from company to company, the bottom line is always the same: Companies either share information with affiliates and third parties or not. Consumers either have the right to opt-out or they don't.

    Consumers in West Coast States Can Get Free Credit Reports Starting December 1, 2004

    Beginning December 1, 2004, consumers living in the western U.S. will have the right to order a free copy of their credit report thanks to a new federal law, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA, adopted by Congress in 2003. Consumers elsewhere in the nation will get the same right over the next year as the law is phased in across the country. By requiring credit reporting bureaus to provide free credit reports annually upon request, the new law enables consumers to more readily monitor if they are victims of identity theft or if their credit reports contain errors.

    Federal Trade Commission Releases Web Site and Phone Number for Free Credit Reports

    Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released information about the phone number, web site and mail-in form that consumers can use to order their free annual credit reports. Free annual credit reports will be rolled out starting on the West Coast beginning December 1, 2004, and ending in September 2005 on the East Coast.


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