Organization Identity Statements
We are a nonprofit organization focused on increasing access to information, policy discussions and meaningful rights so that the right to data privacy can be a reality for everyone.
Founded in 1992 to help people understand their rights and choices, we are one of the first and only organizations to focus exclusively on data privacy rights and issues. For three decades, our team has been driven by the beliefs that
- data privacy is a fundamental human right and essential for an equitable future
- everyone deserves the opportunity to be informed and be heard
Our Core Values
We believe in the fair and just treatment of all—regardless of any social or cultural factor.
We believe everyone should have the ability to access information and be represented in discussions affecting them.
We believe in the strength that comes from our different lived experiences.
We believe in actively fostering an environment where diverse ideas, backgrounds and perspectives are shared, respected and valued.
We increase access to understandable information about existing rights and choices by
- publishing clear overviews of complex data privacy laws
- creating resources that provide context for rights and choices that lie at the intersection of data privacy and key topics that affect us all—health, employment, finance and housing
We increase access to policy discussions and meaningful rights by
- encouraging broad participation across traditionally siloed sectors
- expanding advocates’ public policy capacity in California via facilitated events and information sharing
- engaging in expert policy analysis and strategic advocacy
We increase access to issue-relevant data by
- building high-quality data and tools to inform public interest research, journalism and advocacy
- publishing reports highlighting privacy and security trends
Program Identity Statements
We believe all people deserve the opportunity to be informed and be heard. Yet, comprehensive data privacy protections do not exist in the United States and existing rights and choices are commonly inaccessible—leaving people without the power to exercise meaningful choice or protect their data.
Our diverse programs are designed to change this by increasing access to
- understandable information about existing rights and choices
- policy discussions that focus on inclusion and meaningful rights
- issue-relevant data
The complex laws from which data privacy rights spring are often accessible only to those with time and/or money—leaving the vast majority without effective means to understand them or make informed choices.
PrivacyRights.org works to change this. We break down and clarify rights and choices with a focus on practical context and the people most affected.
It is one of our society’s core ideals. Yet the policy discussion surrounding the issue of data privacy—a discussion traditionally dominated by a narrow set of viewpoints—is far from representative of those affected by its outcomes.
Privacy Today works to change this. By actively fostering accessibility in this discussion and seeking representation of perspectives traditionally absent, we will help build a more inclusive dialogue to drive positive change and promote meaningful rights.
Efforts to understand and address societal inequities are hampered by a lack of accessible, high-quality research data. Even when available, it is frequently out of reach for those with limited capacity.
PrivSec Research works to change this. By creating accessible reports and tools geared towards data privacy and security research, we will help lower the barrier to entry for those working to improve lives.
While we hope this message finds you well, we know that this is a time of great uncertainty and concern for all of us. We recognize that matters of privacy might not be foremost in your mind at this moment as we collectively deal with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on ourselves and our loved ones. In this time of shared hardship, we believe—more than ever—that coming together and helping each other is of paramount importance.
To those ends, we have compiled a list of resources that might be useful to you or those you know. Please share them with others who might not receive this message directly!
In the meantime, know that our team—committed to protecting privacy for all—is hard at work on this important human rights issue and is here for you.
This November, Proposition 24 (California Privacy Rights Act) passed—demonstrating Californians’ demand for privacy and granting new rights and protections including
- an expanded right to know what information has been collected about you
- the right to have that information corrected
- a floor for privacy law in California that will help protect against legislative attacks to weaken existing protections
- the establishment of a dedicated privacy enforcement agency
However, this new law is far from perfect. There are many areas in which we feel it should be improved as we move into the next legislative session and beyond. Among these are
- expanding the private right of action so that people will have more opportunities to enforce their privacy rights
- closing the loophole that allows businesses to avoid data minimization
- strengthening key definitions to ensure that all personal information is protected
This ultimately means that the work to ensure the right to privacy granted to us in our state constitution continues. In the coming year, we will be focusing our California advocacy efforts on closing loopholes and strengthening this new law. That said, we cannot do this alone.
Please consider supporting us and joining the fight!
Pew Research Center Report: Most Americans Struggle with Privacy and Cybersecurity Knowledge
According to the Pew Research Center’s recent Americans and Digital Knowledge report, most Americans are unable to answer basic questions about privacy and cybersecurity. They surveyed 4,272 U.S. adults with a set of 10 questions on a range of digital topics.
Pew found most answered fewer than half of the questions correctly (2% answered all correctly). They also determined that only
- 28% can identify an example of two-factor authentication
- 24% know that private browsing just hides browser history from other users of that computer
- 29% know WhatsApp and Instagram are both owned by Facebook
Those with higher education levels were also found to be much more likely to answer digital knowledge questions correctly—bachelor’s or advanced degree holders outscoring those with a high school (or less) education (12 – 32%). Additionally, younger adults generally did better than older adults (50+) in answering the questions (less pronounced than education level disparity).
Reducing Your Risk of Identity Theft
Others can get your personal information in many ways including
- data breaches
- discarded documents
- stolen wallets/purses
- stolen mail
Limit Your Cards
Watch Your Cards
People have been known to use skimmers to steal card information at restaurants and stores. It’s also good to look for signs of possible tampering at gas pumps and ATMs.
Protect Your Credit
It’s important to get your credit reports at least once a year to look for unusual activity (such as accounts you never opened). You can also freeze your credit for free so that no one (not even you) can open new credit in your name until you unfreeze it.
Make Better Passwords (and Secure Them)
When creating passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs), don’t use
- the last four digits of your Social Security number
- your mother’s maiden name
- your birth date
- your middle name
- your pet’s name
- consecutive numbers
- other things that could easily be discovered
It’s best to never reuse passwords and consider using a password manager (each account should have a unique and complex password). If you have the option, also use two-factor authentication wherever you can.
Protect Your Social Security Number
Provide your Social Security number (SSN) only when absolutely necessary (tax forms, employment records, banking and investment transactions). If a business asks for it, see if there’s another number that can be used instead. If a government agency ask for it, look for the Privacy Act notice. The notice will tell you if
- it’s required
- what will be done with it
- what happens if you refuse to provide it
Be Responsible With Your Documents
It’s best to store documents containing sensitive personal information securely in your home using a locking file cabinet or safe. When you no longer need these records, carefully dispose of them. For example, you shouldn’t throw away credit offers or bank, credit and investment statements without shredding them.