EPIC’s Chris Hoofnagle (who has great taste in jackets, IMHO), posts his Consumer Privacy Top 10–things US consumers can do to safeguard their privacy. What’s great about this list is that, unlike so many I’ve seen, it’s actually realistic and do-able.
Well, nine out of ten anyway (number six isn’t actually practical unless your tolerance for travail in doing things like getting phone service is much greater than mine).
Hi Michael, thanks for linking to the top 10. You’re right about the difficulty in protecting the SSN, but I was able to get both phone and electrical/gas in California without handing over the SSN. I had to pay deposits, but it was only $50. Worth it, in my book.
When we moved to Florida 14 years ago, I forget how much the phone and gas people wanted, but it seemed like a lot at the time. The bigger problem was that they wanted cash or check, and you had to either mail it or go down to deliver it person, both of which in practice would have introduced substantial delays into the process.
There’s a potential way around the problem number 8 addresses. If you ask, some stores will give you a card without tying it to your identity. Their corporate HQ might not like it, but all the local store cares about is building customer base.