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Privacy tips for your trip

Getting ready to take the a dream vacation to Italy or perhaps camping in the Tetons? Here are a few tips to help protect yourself from identity theft.

  • Stop your mail or have a neighbor pick it up.
  • Clean out your wallet of everything you don't need.
  • Photo copy everything left in your wallet and store it in a safe place.
  • Be careful when using public wi-fi. Avoid accessing online banking if possible.
  • Avoid taking personal checks, use travelers checks.

Medical Privacy Law Nets No Fines

In the three years since Americans gained federal protection for their private medical information, the Bush administration has received thousands of complaints alleging violations but has not imposed a single civil fine and has prosecuted just two criminal cases.

The government has "closed" more than 73 percent of the cases -- more than 14,000 -- either ruling that there was no violation, or allowing health plans, hospitals, doctors' offices or other entities simply to promise to fix whatever they had done wrong, escaping any penalty.

U.S. Wants Companies to Keep Web Usage Records

The Justice Department is asking Internet companies to keep records on the Web-surfing activities of their customers to aid law enforcement, and may propose legislation to force them to do so.

It also wants the Internet companies to retain records about whom their users exchange e-mail with, but not the contents of e-mail messages, the executives said. The executives spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they did not want to offend the Justice Department.

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