California Launches Privacy Enforcement Unit

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California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently announced the creation of a Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit in the state's Department of Justice.

"The newly created unit will reside within the eCrime Unit established last year to prosecute identity theft, data intrusions and crimes involving the use of technology," writes CNET News' Elinor Mills.

"Joanne McNabb, formerly of the California Office of Privacy Protection, will serve as director of privacy education and policy," writes MediaPost's Wendy Davis. "She is best known to industry watchers for pressuring Google to revise its home page in 2008 by adding a link to its privacy policy."

"The unit will enforce laws regulating the collection, retention, disclosure, and destruction of private or sensitive information by individuals, organizations, and the government," Infosecurity reports. "This includes laws relating to cyber privacy, health privacy, financial privacy, identity theft, government records, and data breaches."

"The new unit's impact could extend beyond California, because it will police not just companies based in the state but all companies that do business there," writes PCWorld's Martyn Williams.

"In the 21st Century, we share and store our most sensitive personal information on phones, computers and even the cloud," Harris said in a statement. "It is imperative that consumers are empowered to understand how these innovations use personal information so that we can all make informed choices about what information we want to share. The Privacy Unit will police the privacy practices of individuals and organizations to hold accountable those who misuse technology to invade the privacy of others."