PRIVACYnotes Digest Protecting Privacy is Good for Business
Published by: Mike Banks Valentine website101
May 16, 2002 Issue # 010
.....IN THIS DIGEST.....
// -- MODERATOR
COMMENT -- //
at Last?" ~ Mike Valentine
// -- NEW
DISCUSSION -- //
Subscriptions" ~ Janet Roberts
~ Future Feed Forward ~ Moderator comment
Privacy" ~ Jeff Harrow ~ Moderator Comment
// -- CONTINUING
DISCUSSION -- //
ID Card" ~ Anonymous
// -- PRIVACY
NEWS -- //
in Privacy Issues"
// -- MODERATOR
COMMENT -- //
Friday I received
a notice from Dr. Koop newsletter that as they prepare to transfer
assets of their now bankrupt company to Bargain America, that they
would LIKE to sell my email address as part of their assets in the
proceeding. They provide an opt-out option to remove my name from
the list before the transfer of their database of contacts to the
new company. ToySmart learned via lawsuit that they could not sell
names and contact information in their bankruptcy proceedings because
not be sold.
from that widely publicized court case sent online companies running
identifiable customer information to any purchaser of company assets.
That makes me wonder whether a lawsuit was threatened in this bankruptcy
case related to their customer database or whether this is a preemptive
move. It's worth noting that they only allow five days (sent on
Friday and to include the weekend, essentially a two day notice.)
to opt-out before you're sold.
the most recent and visible of web properties to suddenly change
to any suitor at any price. While they were at it, they decided
to move offensively (pun intended) and chose for it's millions of
members that they would now receive marketing information from YAHOO!
"partners" unless they opt-out again, regardless of previous preferences.
There is no news of law suits in that case, but I'd be surprised
if there weren't several filed. The pending switch of Prodigy Internet
to SBC/YAHOO! will mean that Prodigy customers will now be open
to the spamming, er I mean, marketing practices of YAHOO!
I've now received
a total of four notices from companies selling their assets that
my information would be sold in web company buy-outs. I've even
sent notes in response to those notices thanking the company for
asking, then immediately opted out of their databases. This new
practice is often masked in confusing terms, but future law suits
will likely clear up that confusion.
How do you
feel about your information being sold in buy-outs of web based
companies? How about in buy-outs of brick and mortar companies where
it's always been done, as mentioned in the linked news story at
the bottom of this issue?
~ Mike Banks
// -- NEW
DISCUSSION -- //
PROVING OFFLINE SUBSCRIPTIONS?
From: Janet Roberts
loyal newsletter subscribers often are not the ones you collect
through email sign-ups or Web forms. Instead, they're the people
you meet in the offline world, at conferences and conventions where
you are a speaker, in your trade-show booth, in business meetings,
even at the supermarket, or those who send in newspaper or magazine
ads with a subscription request.
The best way
is to keep all paper-format requests, right down to the cocktail
napkin your dinner partner scrawled an email address on. (So much
for the paperless society!) If somebody complains, you have the
Verbal requests are even trickier. You can give out your email
address or Web link and then wait for the person to sign up, or
else include that information in a follow-up confirmation email.
Associate Editor http://Ezine-Tips.com/
Member of the http://List-Universe.com/
Resource Network for Email Publishers
products giant Procter & Gamble today announced trial marketing
in the U.S. of a new version of its classic Charmin bathroom tissue
displaying dynamically generated and updated ads for other Procter
& Gamble products. The new ad-enabled Charmin will be free to
consumers and distributed through supermarkets and other large retail
outlets for Procter & Gamble products.
From: Jeff Harrow
been following the promises of new cell phone services that will
be possible once our cell phones become "location-aware," then you've
probably come across the decidedly mixed-blessing of "Proximity
This is the
(useful or despicable, depending on your viewpoint) process of making
your real-time position information available to marketers who might
like to lure you into a restaurant you're approaching by offering
you an instant discount, based on their current customer load. Or
to go even farther, using your credit/debit card shopping records
to know that you're probably interested in [sports | electronics
| clothing, take your pick] and offer you a special price on the
'latest and greatest' at the store that just happens to be at the
foot of the next exit ramp (or the store farther down the mall).
is, although I may sound disparaging of this idea, it could actually
be useful to many people -- so long as we can strictly tailor (e.g.,
opt-in) and control its use. For example, I might be very interested
in being told about a 4-star Thai restaurant near me if it's near
lunch or dinnertime, or I'd welcome a good price on a new DVD-recorder
I might be contemplating. But I would quickly become angry and discontinue
the entire service if I was bombarded with come-ons from Indian
restaurants (sorry, that's one of the few cuisines that don't sit
well with me), or the latest prices on towels (unless they were
high-tech, with built-in displays, etc...) But you get the idea
-- the service could be useful IF it's not abused (by MY definition.)
remember, though, that all location-aware devices, which include
the cell phones you use today to some extent, do open the privacy
specter -- something that we're past-due in coming to grips with.
Technology Consultant The Harrow Group Author: "The Harrow Technology
Report" Web -> http://www.TheHarrowGroup.com
kindly approved use of the above excerpt from an article titled
"Getting From Here to There" from his weekly newsletter, "The Harrow
Technology Report," available online at:
// -- CONTINUING
DISCUSSION -- //
I don't see any serious national privacy advocates within the federal
government since most listen when money talks before they listen
to public opinion. Although there is furious activity, there is
no clear leader on the issue. <<
I'd say, falls into the category of Government and he says:
Bush on National ID Card: No Way, No How"
House has ruled out a national identity card system as a counterterrorism
measure. Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan said President Bush
is not even considering the idea - though many in and out of government
are, and the debate over the old issue has flared anew."
Times Weekly, 10/7/01
to inform your readers of this very important fact regarding National
ID's - the "main man" does not want them in America. I think it
is imperative people know this so as to add to support OF THE WHITE
HOUSE and of course, the most important support - Americans as a
in US House & Senate
Introduce Privacy Commission Bill
Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), and Sen. Herb
Kohl (D-Wisc.), introduced the Citizens' Privacy Commission Act
(S.851), a bill that would establish a privacy commission to study
ways that federal, state and local governments collect and use personal
data. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio),
Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine),
and Pete Fitzgerald (R-Il.). The bill is similar to one introduced
in the 106th Congress, and would require the new 11-member commission
to investigate how the various levels of government collect, use
and share information about citizens.
* House Subcommittee
Passes Privacy Commission Bill
Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial
Management and Intergovernmental Relations passed H.R. 4049 by voice
vote. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) and
would establish a 17-member commission to study industry and government
privacy initiatives. The commission would report on the need for
legislation or industry self-regulation efforts after 18 months.
// -- PRIVACY
NEWS -- //
note: There are two ways to access previously listed privacy news
stories. One is to visit PRIVACYnotes archives, the other (simpler)
way is to visit
where I also keep a privacy news archive.
Tens of thousands
of stolen credit-card numbers are being offered for sale each week
on the Internet in a handful of thriving, membership-only cyberbazaars,
operated largely by residents of the former Soviet Union, who have
become central players in credit-card and identity theft. The marketplaces
where credit card prices fluctuate with supply and demand in a sort
of black stock market offer a window into a crime that costs the
financial system $1 billion or more a year. They also show how readily
personal information is being stolen and traded in the computer
of Cambridge computer security researchers plan to describe on Monday
an ingenious and inexpensive attack that employs a $30 camera flashgun
and a microscope to extract secret information contained in widely
used smart cards. The newly discovered vulnerability is reason for
alarm, the researchers said, because it could make it cost-effective
for a criminal to steal information from the cards. Smart cards
are used for dozens of different applications, including electronic
identity protection, credit and debit cards and cellular phone payment
and identity systems.
in Scotland are developing a new kind of Web monitoring software
that they claim can collect enormous amounts of data on Web surfers
while remaining nearly undetectable. "Technology like this, once
it's spread around, means people can be tracked from site to site,"
said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier
Foundation. "Whatever (the Scottish Enterprise) is doing, this is
part of a long-standing practice by governments to fund the development
of spying technology or, more generally, technology that facilitates
law enforcement and national security."
-- looking up a new acquaintance on Google before going out on a
date -- has become a popular research tool, this could become a
real liability. It happens sometimes, said Google software engineer
Matt Cutts. Your Web presence depends on things that you can't always
control -- "how long you've been on the Internet, whether you have
a home page, how actively you seek out social contacts online,"
he said. Finding the right balance between recognition and privacy
is difficult. Chris Hoofnagle, legislative counsel at the Electronic
Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based nonprofit, outlined
a few options for people seeking to control their own Google identity.
vast Internet portal that set off howls of protest when it abruptly
changed its marketing policy in March. Suddenly, Yahoo granted itself
the right to send advertising messages to tens of millions of its
users who had previously asked to receive none. The blanket permission
went beyond e-mail to include postal mailings and telemarketing
phone calls. Immediately, privacy advocates reacted with criticism,
and outraged postings flooded message boards all over the Internet.
In the four weeks from March 25 to April 21, nearly a million Internet
trend in constitutional law: the erasing of the line between commercial
and noncommercial speech. Last month, a court struck down a federal
law banning junk faxes and affirmed the right of a company called
American Blast Fax to continue to blast away. If other courts push
corporate free speech to this illogical limit, laws against spam
e-mail may suffer the same fate, as judges elevate the right to
send e-mail ads for get-rich-quick schemes and Internet pornography
sites to a constitutional imperative. Editorial Opinion.
A NEW survey
shows a correlation between the actions of Sacramento politicians
on financial-privacy legislation and the amount of contributions
they have received from the measure's opponents. Opponents of legislation
that would require banks and insurance companies to obtain customer
permission before selling or sharing personal financial information
contributed nearly $5 million to legislators and the governor since
the 2000 election cycle, Common Cause found in its study, titled
"Privacy for Sale."
If you shop
on the Internet, you may fret about keeping your credit card number
safe. But when you pay a bill to a hospital or clinic, you probably
don't think about where those computerized account records end up.
Nor is that foremost on your mind when you start a job and provide
your employer a home address and Social Security number. Yet the
way those bills and records are handled can determine whether you
become a victim of identity theft, the top online consumer complaint
at the Federal Trade Commission.