As the economic downturn progresses, American workers are facing a
disturbing rise in employers using credit ratings to determine job
worthiness. According to a 2006 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management,
the number of firms using credit histories to screen applicants rose
from 25% in 1998 to 43% despite such inquiries often being
discriminatory and even illegal.
Whether out of circumstance or an emerging trend, where state authority
was at issue, this term the U.S. Supreme Court overwhelmingly deferred
to state decision makers-- a significant reveral from last year.
The cards used by California legislators
to gain access to the "secure" areas of their statehouses have one big
problem: it's been demonstrated that third parties can easily read information off their electronic tags at a short distance and gain unauthorized access.
Despite ongoing court challenges, states are moving ahead to protect the privacy of physicians' drug prescribing-history. Most recently, the Washington State Senate passed SB 6241, which prohibits
the sale or use, for marketing purposes, of data detailing which
drugs a physician prescribes and how often -- a practice called
data-mining. In 2006, New Hampshire became the first state to ban data-mining for marketing purposes.
The Kansas State Supreme Court temporarily blocked
a grand jury investigating an abortion provider from collecting more
than 2,000 patient records, including patients who didn't end up having
an abortion. The provider, Dr. Tiller, and his attorneys objected to
the subpoena of patient records as a violation of women's constitutional rights. The Center for Reproductive Rights also filed a petition
on behalf of patients to stop the subpoena's. The Court, at least for
now, agreed the subpoenas raised "significant issues" about patients'
privacy. A final decision will be made by February 25th.