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Privacy Regulation Essay

1028 words - 5 pages

Privacy Regulation

1. Anonymous Electronic Payments
According to the statistics, more than $5 trillion worth of online transactions happened in 2013. In general, there are five payment methods: credit card, debit card, direct deposit and direct debit, online payment services, and electronic bill payment services; in which credit card is the most popular one. Sensitive personal information is required to provide when using these methods, such as names, address, credit card numbers, secure code, and other account numbers. This information is accessed by sellers, credit card companies, banks and other related financial institutions, and easy to become the target of identity theft or ...view middle of the document...

For example, a lot of merchants accept Amazon gift cards.
* Bitcoins. It is a virtual currency and the most popular anonymous method of online payment, which only requests a virtual wallet address and the identity behind the address is anonymous. However, it is an immature market that only a few companies accept bitcoins, such as Dell, Overstock, Newegg, etc. There are no laws or regulations to monitor the bitcoin exchanges, but New York State Department of Financial Services proposed virtual currency regulation to verify the identity of customers.
* Escrow, a third party website that customers pay money to Escrow instead of directly to sellers. When items are shipped and both sides agree that the transactions can be finished, Escrow will pay sellers. However, even though credit card information of customers is anonymous to sellers, not to Escrow. Besides, it only can be used on eBay.
There isn’t a national wide law to protect online transactions and customers’ personal information. California has an Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003, which “requires an operator, defined as a person or entity that collects personally identifiable information from California residents through an Internet Web site or online service for commercial purposes, to post a conspicuous privacy policy on its Web site or online service and to comply with that policy”. 

4. Prescription Drug Usage Information
Personal medical information can be accessed by healthcare providers, insurance companies, pharmacist, state public health organizations, and etc. It includes medical records, bills, test results, receipts and claim forms. This information can be misused by hospitals or pharmacies. Thus, US government has Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information, which indicates the information that can be used to identify a specific individual. Under the Privacy Rule of HIPAA, the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) is regulated. PHI is the information held by covered entities, such as healthcare clearinghouses, insurance companies, pharmacies, and hospitals, and related to the health condition and payment of individuals.
This information about individual’s healthcare record and payment history is supposed to keep private and only provided to individuals, or it is required individuals’ written authorization to...

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