Sunday, October 20, 2002

Protection of Privacy by States Is Ranked
California and Minnesota protect the privacy of their citizens better than any other states, while the federal government does a poor job, a study by Privacy Journal says.

The journal ranked states in five tiers. The other states in the top tier are Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Washington and Wisconsin.

The second tier, states considered "above average," includes Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont.

The third tier, states considered "below average," has Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia.

The fourth tier has nine states and the District of Columbia: Alabama, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The lowest tier includes Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

Texas, ranked in 1999 as "not on the radar screen," improved its standing by enacting laws restricting the use of genetic information by insurance companies and employers, and the use of automatic dialers by telemarketers. It also joined several other states by requiring telemarketers not to call individuals who have entered their names on a state "do not call" list.

Mr. Smith said the federal government would have been ranked in the fourth tier of privacy protectors if it were a state.