California To Tackle Privacy Crimes With New DOJ UnitBy: Josh Wolford - July 23, 2012
The state of California is going after those who would attempt to violate your online privacy. Attorney General Kamala Harris just announced the formation of a new task force inside the state’s Department of Justice called the Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit. She says that it will attempt to protect online privacy “through civil prosecution of state and federal privacy laws.”
The AG’s office says that this new unit will house all of the state’s various privacy enforcement operations into one single umbrella – that means cyber privacy, health privacy, financial privacy, identity theft, and governmental data hacks.
The unit will be comprised of California DoJ employees, including six state prosecutors that will form the teeth of the operation.
“In the 21st Century, we share and store our most sensitive personal information on phones, computers and even the cloud. It is imperative that consumers are empowered to understand how these innovations use personal information so that we can all make informed choices about what information we want to share,” said Attorney General Harris. “The Privacy Unit will police the privacy practices of individuals and organizations to hold accountable those who misuse technology to invade the privacy of others.”
If the name Kamala Harris sounds familiar, it’s because she recently made other privacy news. She was behind a “Joint Statement of Principles” that was drafted as a booster for California’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The statement made sure that companies were committed to one aspect of the act, that sites that collect user data must have privacy policies that are conspicuously posted. Apple, Amazon, Google, HP, Microsoft, and RIM all signed the statement early on, with Facebook signing late last month.