California Enacts New Privacy Laws

In October, California Governor Gray Davis signed into law six new privacy measures aimed at protecting consumers’ privacy and protecting against identity theft. One of the new laws establishes the first dedicated U.S. privacy protection agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs.

In October, California Governor Gray Davis signed into law six new privacy measures aimed at protecting consumers’ privacy and protecting against identity theft. One of the new laws establishes the first dedicated U.S. privacy protection agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs.

The new Office of Privacy Protection will operate as a central clearinghouse for privacy complaints and will provide information, advice and referrals to consumers to help resolve privacy disputes and concerns.

Another law requires businesses to destroy customer records containing personal information by shredding them, erasing them or otherwise making them unreadable. Two of the laws specifically address the growing problem of identify theft. The first allows victims of identity theft to seek the assistance of the courts in clearing their names and restoring their identities. The second allows those victims to join law enforcement in accessing a statewide database documenting identity theft crimes. Under the fifth law, credit card companies will have to give consumers an opportunity to “opt-out” annually of having their personal information shared. The final law prohibits consumer credit reporting agencies from including medical information, provided for insurance purposes, in consumer credit reports.

This new package of laws, coupled with the state’s strong constitutional right to privacy, clearly establishes California as the leading U.S. state in the protection of individual privacy.

Press release from the California Department of Consumer Affairs discussing the new legislation:

http://www.dca.ca.gov/press_releases/20001030.htm

Author: EPIC

News Service: EPIC

URL: www.epic.org