Privacy Resolutions: Make 2007 Prosperous and Private!

We at the PRC wish you a happy, prosperous and private new year. For 2007, resolve to do what you can to guard against identity theft and stop unwanted intrusions via your mailbox, telephone, or fax machine. When it comes to privacy, there are no guarantees. But the following resolutions are a good way to start off the new year.

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.

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.

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.

Tell the FCC to Stop Debt Collectors from Calling Your Cell Phone

Debt collectors want permission to call your cell phone. They want to use autodialers in order to reach as many numbers as possible.

The law currently protects consumers from such calls to cell phones, but the debt collectors want that to change.

Comments to the Federal Communications Commission Regarding Implementation of The Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005

Fifteen years ago when Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), it made what seemed an unambiguous declaration: Unsolicited advertisements to fax machines were prohibited without the recipient's prior express permission. Clear though it sounds, the public's efforts to stop unwanted fax solicitations have had a long and tortuous history. The Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 creates a loophole that will surely reverse even the modest progress made against unwanted junk faxes.

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.

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.

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