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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

In Wake of OPM’s Poor Response to Data Breach, MASSPIRG Launches Public Education Campaign for the more than 45,000 Federal Employees in Massachusetts

In light of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) poor handling of data breaches reported earlier this year, MASSPIRG staff and volunteers did a lunch hour “literature drop” today, handing out identity theft tips to federal employees at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection

In Wake of OPM’s Poor Response to Data Breach, MASSPIRG Launches Public Education Campaign for the more than 45,000 Federal Employees in Massachusetts

In light of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) poor handling of data breaches reported earlier this year, MASSPIRG staff and volunteers did a lunch hour “literature drop” today, handing out identity theft tips to federal employees at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

TIPS FOR OPM & OTHER DATA BREACH VICTIMS-WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID IDENTITY THEFT & OTHER HARMS? | Janet Domenitz

The latest breach of up to 18 million or more federal government employee files held by U.S. OPM is an example of everything that's wrong with data security and data breach response mechanisms today. Agencies and companies hold too much information for too long and don't protect it adequately. Then, they wait months before informing victims. Then, they make things worse by offering weak, short-term help such as credit monitoring. Our main message: your best protection against identity theft is the security freeze, not the often-offered, under-achieving credit monitoring.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

THE MORE I HEAR ABOUT OPM DATA BREACH, THE LESS I KNOW, EXCEPT THIS: IT'S BAD | Ed Mierzwinski

Was it 4 million, 14 million or 18 million records breached (how many times) (likely) by Chinese hackers? Whose fault was it? The USOPM director says no one's. Really? Perhaps the worst data breach ever raises lots of questions, but I haven't heard any good answers. Federal employees, their families, their friends and their neighbors -- because all of them could be victims -- deserve better answers, just as they deserve better service than USOPM's credit monitoring provider is giving them.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Janet Domenitz's testimony in favor of banning plastic bags | Janet Domenitz

The proliferation of plastic bag use has been a disaster for the environment of Massachusetts, as well as the rest of the world. Luckily, there's a simple solution: banning plastic bags. MASSPIRG's Janet Domenitz and Emily Olson testified before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture in favor of a number of bills to monitor, limit, and ban plastic bag use in Massachusetts. 

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Media Hit | Solid Waste

WITH BALLOT QUESTION IN THE WORKS, LAWMAKERS HEAR BOTTLE BILL DEBATE

Proposals to expand the bottle deposit were before lawmakers on the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee for a legislative hearing. Frustrated with lawmakers, the bill’s supporters are also angling to put the proposal on the 2014 ballot.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Broad Coalition Calls For Passage of the Updated Bottle Bill

MASSPIRG testifies before the State House Joint Committee on Telecom, Utilities and Energy and urges them to pass the Updated Bottle Bill.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

New Report Identifies Banks Consumers Complain About

New report highlights banks that generated the most complaints through their various banking services in each state. Thousands of Americans are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes with their banks, according to a new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund.

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Bank provides college ID that doubles as ATM card

Colleges adopt new trend in banking, letting banks run student ID service. MASSPIRG urges caution.  

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report Shows Bay Staters Are Driving Less

Bay Staters have cut their per-person driving miles by 4.03% percent since 2004, mirroring similar reductions in 45 other states. The Commonwealth’s and nation’s long term driving booms appear to have ended, according to a new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Testimony In Support of An Act Establishing the Massachusetts Prescription Fair Pricing Program | Deirdre Cummings

Current estimates put the Commonwealth’s spending at $1.2 billion per year on prescription drugs. The results of these growing prescription drug costs are more people without access to necessary drugs, higher premiums for those fortunate enough to have prescription drug coverage, and an increasing burden on the state and other programs to assist those who cannot pay for drugs themselves

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Blog Post

Testimony in support of maintaining the current Food Store Item Pricing Law | Deirdre Cummings

The food store item pricing law requires supermarkets to put price stickers on most items in supermarkets. It is a long-standing, efficacious, and overwhelmingly popular consumer protection. MASSPIRG does not oppose stores adopting newer pricing technology such as electronic shelf display systems and self service price scanners with certain controls. However, we do oppose legislation that would allow stores to substitute a pricing mechanism that offers less consumer benefit than what we have today. In considering any change to our current retail pricing system, it must first provide equal or better benefits to the consumer to be considered as a substitute. The six proposals before you today do not provide equal or improved consumer benefits.

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Blog Post

Testimony in Support of Closing the Telecom Tax Loophole | Deirdre Cummings

This hearing comes just days before the deadline to file our taxes, and each year at about this time, Bay Staters have an opportunity to reflect about taxes and how our tax dollars get spent. Some may use the occasion to complain about their taxes or government, others may object that public structures like schools, roads, and health inspections need more public funds than they receive. Whatever your perspective, Tax Day and our tax bills are far more palatable when we feel confident in the tax system; that there is inherent fairness in the system; and no one group or individual gets unintended or unreasonable tax breaks.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG Urges Senate To Oppose Anti-Consumer Bill | Deirdre Cummings

This bill would turn back the clock on consumer protection over a quarter of a century by once again requiring an out-of-pocket loss of money in order for a consumer to collect damages under the state Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 93A. It would also eliminate consumers’ rights to join together to fight unfair practices.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

MASSPIRG urges the Division of Insurance to reduce annual auto insurance premiums | Deirdre Cummings

The Division of Insurance should use their authority and resources to Identify and adopt a comprehensive plan to reduce the state's underlying costs, including our high accident rate. The reforms to reduce the state's costs and accident rate must involve state and local government, the insurance industry, police, drivers and insurance regulators.

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We're teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics.

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