Our History

Our History

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse was founded in 1992 as a program of the University of San Diego School of Law’s Center for Public Interest Law. During the early years, we operated a toll-free telephone hotline and published printed consumer fact sheets—assisting tens of thousands of people. Our founder, Beth Givens, documented and analyzed the stories we received, and began to identify patterns. She amplified individual voices by alerting public officials and policy makers, and became the first advocate to both raise awareness of identity theft and provide victim assistance.

In 1996, we launched the first iteration of our website and transitioned to the fiscal sponsorship of the Utility Consumers’ Action Network. This jump into the digital age allowed us to better address the broad needs of the public and track trends in consumer privacy. We were also able to expand our reach by delivering educational materials in a more-up-to-date and expedited manner.  We created an online mechanism to answer individual questions and started tracking data breaches.

Between 1992 and 2018, Beth Givens received several awards for her visionary work, including

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award
  • Brandeis Award (Privacy International)
  • Albin Gruhn Consumer Warrior Award (Consumer Federation of California)
  • Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award (Consumer Federation of California)
  • U.S. Privacy Champion Award (Electronic Privacy Information Center)

In 2014, we became an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and have continued to empower individuals and advocate for positive change within the ever-changing privacy landscape. Every day we work to build on our well-established foundation and fulfill our mission to protect privacy for all.