Election Section

California tops in privacy protections

The Associated Press
Friday October 18, 2002


SACRAMENTO — California’s year-old Office of Privacy Protection and spate of laws give consumers more protection against identity theft and similar privacy invasions than any other state, according to a new ranking by a national newsletter. 

California had shared the top position with Minnesota in the most recent previous ranking in 1999 by the 28-year-old Providence, R.I.-based Privacy Journal. 

Hawaii and Minnesota also have state privacy offices, but only California’s deals solely with individual privacy, said Joanne McNabb, who directs the California office. 

A complete ranking of states is scheduled for release Monday. The journal is preparing to publish a new reference book on state and federal privacy laws that will be made available to everyone and will provide more detailed information on privacy. 

Gov. Gray Davis’ administration held a news conference and conference call with reporters to tout the ranking less than three weeks before the Nov. 5 election. 

Administration officials and privacy advocates echoed the journal’s praise for the 13 new privacy laws Davis signed last month, and additional laws since 1999 that have further strengthend consumer privacy. 

But Davis officials could not say where he stands on a bill that would have limited how companies share consumers’ financial information. 

The financial services industry spent more than $20 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expenses during its successful two-year fight against the bill, giving least $1 million in campaign contributions went to Davis.