How do privacy policies impact my personal rights?
- Notice/Awareness: consumers should know what data is collected, who will get access to it, and whether the requested information is optional or required
- Choice/Consent: consumers should have a choice in how their information is used for secondary purposes, e.g. opting out of receiving marketing emails after purchasing a product online
- Access/Participation: consumers should know what information a company has about them, and be able to correct it as necessary
- Integrity/Security: any customer data held by a company should be protected from unauthorized access
- Enforcement/Redress: if customer data privacy is breached, the company should work towards fixing the problem and notifying affected customers as soon as possible
Do blogs and other social networking sites impact privacy expectations?
How does the government protect my privacy?
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is at the root of many privacy protections against unreasonable government intrusion into your private affairs. Unlike a corporation, the government can compel disclosure of your private information, so in general it must meet stricter standards before being given access to your data.
What is the Privacy Act of 1974?
How do states protect my privacy?
Many states have passed laws requiring that companies follow certain standards in their privacy policies. For example, California requires that all websites inform consumers whether or not they honor Do Not Track requests. In addition, California mandates that consumers must be able to see what personal data a business holds about them, and have it corrected as necessary. The exact privacy rights available to you will vary state by state.
What is the US-EU Safe Harbor?
In 1998, the European Union put stringent new privacy controls in place and restricted the export of data to non-EU countries that did not have similar data protection standards in place. The US and EU formally created a framework known as the US-EU Safe Harbor that allows American businesses to certify that they comply with EU privacy standards. Not only does this benefit companies that wish to do business with customers in the European Union, it also benefits US consumers who will receive stronger privacy protections than are currently available under US law.
Do employees have privacy rights?
In general, yes. Your employer cannot monitor your personal activities that you do outside of work. However, your employer has the right to monitor all company property, computers, and networks, without giving you prior notice. If you check your Facebook or personal email account from a work computer, it is not considered a breach of your privacy if your company monitors that activity. Likewise, if you bring a personal laptop to work but connect to the company wifi network, your employer has the right to track any data sent and received over their network. Employers may enact stricter privacy policies at their discretion (e.g. a policy that emails marked "confidential" will not be monitored), but they are not required to do so by law.
Employers may also monitor employee phone calls, with one exception: as soon as it is apparent that a call is personal in nature, the company must stop monitoring it immediately. However, if the employee has been warned to stop making too many personal calls while at work, the employer has some leeway for monitoring.
Certain data, such as personnel files and medical information, must be kept confidential by the Human Resources department. When in doubt about what information will be kept private and what may be monitored, you should talk to your HR representative.