Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
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Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) is a California nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. It has a two-part mission—consumer information and consumer advocacy. It was established by Beth Givens in 1992 at the University of San Diego and is based in San Diego, California. The PRC is primarily funded by grants and cy pres fund awards. The organization serves consumers nationwide through a comprehensive website with resources that include an online complaint submission form, numerous articles, and nearly 100 informational fact sheets in English and Spanish.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse's goals are to:
- Raise consumers' awareness of how technology affects personal privacy.
- Empower consumers to take action to control their own personal information by providing practical tips on privacy protection.
- Respond to specific privacy-related complaints from consumers, intercede on their behalf, and, when appropriate, refer them to the proper organizations for further assistance.
- Document the nature of consumers' complaints and questions about privacy in reports, testimony and speeches and make them available to policy makers, industry representatives, consumer advocates and the media.
- Advocate for consumers' privacy rights in local, state, and federal public policy proceedings, including legislative testimony, regulatory agency hearings, task forces and study commissions as well as conferences and workshops.
- An Online Complaint Center for consumers to report privacy abuses and request information on ways to protect their privacy.
- An extensive series of fact sheets on privacy issues, available in English and some in Spanish. Subject areas include basic privacy information, computer security and data breaches, technology and online privacy, identity theft, banking and finance, credit reports, debt collection, telephone privacy, junk mail, junk faxes and spam, medical privacy, insurance, Social Security Numbers, workplace issues including background checks and employment privacy, public and government records, education, harassment, stalking, etc.
- A web site that provides texts of all fact sheets, transcripts of PRC speeches and testimony, FAQ and index by topic, stories of consumers' experiences, and more.
- Assistance and interviews for journalists, providing background and comments for stories.
- A referral service for journalists and policymakers who are seeking victims of privacy abuses who have indicated a willingness to talk with the media and/or testify in legislative and regulatory agency hearings.
- A speakers service, in which PRC staff make presentations at conferences, employee training sessions, and civic and community group meetings.
- PRC Director Beth Givens was the recipient of the 2012 Albin Gruhn Award for her consumer advocacy efforts spanning 20 years as founder and director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The award was given by the Consumer Federation of California at its annual legislative reception in the California State Capitol.
- PRC Director Beth Givens was the recipient of the 2010 Consumer Federation of America's Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award.
- PRC Director Beth Givens was the recipient of the 2010 US Privacy Champion Award from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in honor of Data Privacy Day, January 28, 2010.
- PRC Director Beth Givens received a 2002 Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- PRC Director Beth Givens was a year-2000 recipient of the Brandeis Award from Privacy International.
- The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and its affiliated Identity Theft Resource Center were honored with a year-2000 award from the Foundation for Improvement of Justice for their work with identity theft victims.
- The PRC received the 1997 Consumer Action Award for its "outstanding service to consumers."