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Protecting Privacy is Good for Business

Respecting Privacy on the Web



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PRIVACYnotes Digest

Protecting Privacy is Good for Business
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Published by: Mike Banks Valentine
website101
privacy@website101.com www.website101.com
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May 30, 2002 Issue # 012
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.....IN THIS DIGEST.....

// -- MODERATOR COMMENT -- //

"Snake Oil Security?" ~ Mike Valentine

// -- NEW DISCUSSION -- //

"Gutting Medical Privacy" ~ Janlori Goldman

// -- NEW DISCUSSION -- //

"Hacks Happen" ~ Mike Valentine

// -- CONTINUING DISCUSSION -- //

"Email Appending" ~ Anonymous

// -- PRIVACY NEWS -- //

"The Latest in Privacy Issues"

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// -- MODERATOR COMMENT -- //

Technology vendors think they can save the world, if only everyone buys their product. The following is a quote from a Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania interview with Tom Siebel of Siebel Systems, a manufacturer of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software for big business.

"Tom Siebel has been attacked for his proposal to use Siebel software to sniff out terrorist plots. In February, Siebel told a Congressional committee that a specially tailored Siebel system might have deterred the Sept. 11 attacks. "Security agencies can use this technology to maintain a 'logically' centralized ? although physically disparate ? consolidated view of terrorist related information gathered from multiple sources and channels and make this information immediately accessible to authorized personnel in the homeland security network," Siebel testified."

"Had such technology been in place prior to September 11, there may have been a different outcome. President Bush himself asked corporate America to join the fight against terrorism, Siebel said. "This is not an opportunistic capital- ization of tragic events. This is a combined effort between the U.S. government and private enterprise to avoid a repeat of September 11th." He added that since November of last year, various government and non-profit agencies have purchased the Siebel Homeland Security product to anticipate, track, prevent, and respond to national security threats."

<http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/articles.cfm?catid=4&articleid=563&homepage=yes>

(Free membership required to read stories, check the privacy policy.)

Siebel Homeland Security product? Wow! Can I get a copy for my laptop and another for my PDA? Must be a hot selling item, and it's working like a charm, too. I wonder why it's not available worldwide, since it IS so effective? It seems that between Larry Ellison and his National ID database and Tom Siebel's Homeland Security product we've got the problem of terrorism licked. But wait, it seems that the hardware guys want a piece of the snake oil action.

"If we had advanced (technology) tools in place prior to Sept. 11, it is almost certain that some of the terrorists would have been detained and possibly some of the plots would have been foiled," said a report from the Progressive Policy Institute, a Washington research center associated with the Clinton-Gore administration.

A story at NewsFactor.com points out that new tech spy gear is being hawked to the government at unimaginable rates. That story is linked in the Privacy News section at the bottom of this issue.

"With some exaggeration, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, whose department is responsible for airport safety, told the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this month: "We've got every salesman - 20,000 of them, I think - approaching us about how they've got some machine that will take care of everything we do, including not only detecting explosives but athlete's foot as well."

That snake oil is pretty slippery guys. Software powering advanced hardware is impressive, but not magical. Where is the sheriff to chase off these high tech charlatans? It seems that we've got a movie script in production in Washington, D.C. The remake of "Music Man" has 20,000 high tech salesmen pitching their wares to Uncle Sam -- apparently.

~ Mike Banks Valentine

Comment? mailto:privacy@website101.com

// -- NEW DISCUSSION -- //

From: Janlori Goldman <info[AT]healthprivacy[DOT]org>

A Need to Protect Medical Privacy Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/23/opinion/L23PRIV.html

Far from taking a reasonable approach to protecting the privacy of people's medical information, the Bush administration is proposing to gut the first-ever federal medical privacy rule.

Under pressure from the health care industry, the administration is proposing to eliminate the new rule's core consent requirement and authorize the use of people's medical records for far more than just "health professionals' communicating among themselves." The administration is also proposing to open up medical records without patient consent for marketing, legalizing the growing practice of pharmacies' being paid by drug companies to contact patients to urge them to switch to a new or different drug.

None of these changes will improve patient care or lower barriers to care; in fact, they will do just the opposite. Consent is central to fostering trust and confidence in the health care system.

Janlori Goldman Director, Health Privacy Project Georgetown University

(“Modifying Medical Privacy,” The New York Times, May 20, 2002, is available at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/20/opinion/20MONDAY4.html.)

Comment? mailto:privacy@website101.com

// -- NEW DISCUSSION -- //

===> TOPIC: Hacks Happen

This month caught Experian Credit and The California State Employee database with their digital pants down allowing easy access by crooks to sensitive personal information for over a quarter million people. These are only the breaches of digital britches we've been told about. What of the 90% that go unreported and the even higher number that go un-noticed? Here's a quote from Steve Maviglio (in the San Francisco Chronicle), the California governor's spokesman, meant to calm our fears and ease all concern.

"This happens to thousands of computers worldwide, it's not isolated to the state. From all initial reports, it looks like we might have nipped this in the bud . . . We did all we could to prevent this and we'll do all we can to prevent any adverse consequence."

<http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/05/25/MN179392.DTL>

Hoo Boy is that a relief! It happens worldwide! We're not alone in being digitally raped! That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. What can be done "to prevent any adverse consequence" is precisely nothing. A quarter million state employees' social security numbers with names, addresses and phone numbers to match are now in the hands of hackers. The only thing to prevent the illegal use of that information will be the goodwill and honesty of those who stole them. Be nice you guys, OK?

Security and privacy are now inextricably linked issues. Without one, there is not a chance of having the other. Digital personally identifiable information on virtually everyone is stored in databases which are essentially repeated over and over again everywhere from the local car repair shop to the credit reporting agencies. Somewhere, somehow, the information is accessible to any nerd with a modem and too much time on his hands. We can't possibly believe that it's just a few15 year old dorks with black rimmed glasses are doing the hacks and that they won't know what to do with all that information. You can bet that it is a network of organized high tech criminal geeks with rather more than simple mischievous intent who are raiding those digital vaults.

Comment? mailto:privacy@website101.com

// -- CONTINUING DISCUSSION -- //

===> TOPIC: Email Appending

From: Anonymous

Having my own domain, I often give out brand new email addresses to companies I do business with.

CDNow.com is one that got a new, un-used email address, several years ago when I bought some CD's from them.

A few months ago, I started receiving spam to that address. Porno, credit-repair, and the usual garbage.

I never gave the address to anyone but them. That's clear evidence that they sold my address to some spam outfit. Now that the address has been distributed, there is no way to avoid the spam. Currently it all gets filtered into the spam inbox, so I don't have to pay much attention to it. Eventually, I'll probably set up that address to bounce, just to keep from having to deal with it.

But CDNow won't see any more of my business. They abused my information the last time I did business with them, and they've been unwilling to even reply when I send complaints.

I enjoyed your article, and it happened to bring this situation to mind.

Moderator Comment: Anonymous is referring to my article in CRMdaily that was made up of an expanded version of my comments on email appending from last issue. You can see that longer article at the following address.

http://www.crmdaily.com/perl/story/17914.html

Mike

Comment? mailto:privacy@website101.com

// -- PRIVACY NEWS -- //

Moderator 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 http://privacynotes.com/privacy_news.html where I also keep a privacy news archive.

Privacy and Security on your PC. Spyware, nosy bosses, unnecessary demographic information, the government: the efforts to learn what you're up to are constant. In this first installment, know your adversaries, their tools--and your rights. Extremetech covers the six layers of information security.

http://www.extremetech.com/article/0,3396,s=1024&a=27365,00.asp

Technology companies are enlisting in the war on terrorism, seeking to profit by making Americans more secure. But some of the new technologies, including lie detectors that claim to read brain waves and electronic scanners that see through clothing, raise concerns about possible invasions of privacy. "In the wake of Sept. 11, a wide array of corporations, with the active encouragement of the U.S. government, are developing new and extremely intrusive systems to capture personal data, biometric data and video information," said Wayne Madsen, a privacy researcher at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. All technology companies seek to share in the billions of dollars budgeted for homeland security.

http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/17942.html

BRUSSELS, May 27 (Bloomberg News) - The European Commission has begun an inquiry into Microsoft because of concerns that its .NET Passport system may violate privacy rules. The European Commission said last week that it had concerns about the legality of Microsoft's Passport, which stores identity data on the company's servers so that Internet users do not have to re-enter it as they move among programs and Web sites. Microsoft already faces the threat of a fine by the commission for abusing the dominant position of the company's Windows operating system, which runs 90 percent of the world's personal computers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/28/technology/28SOFT.html

TRUSTe, the nonprofit organization widely known for its leading privacy certification and seal program, and ePrivacy Group, a respected privacy consulting, training and technology company, have joined forces to launch a groundbreaking email certification and seal program to bring consumer trust to commercial email. Under the banner “Trusted Sender,” this new program includes beta testers Microsoft, DoubleClick and Topica. Announced in January.

http://www.truste.org/about/TrustedSenderReleaseFINAL.html



PRIVACYnotes Moderator: Mike Banks Valentine

Mike Banks Valentine is a champion of the true small online business. He advocates a do-it-yourself approach to e-commerce through online learning for the small office, home office (SOHO) or emerging entrepreneur who lacks major venture capital funding or corporate marketing budgets.

Mike is the founder of WebSite101, an educational resource for small businesses creating initial Web presences. His writing has appeared in international publications and his work praised by Entrepreneur Magazine. He does small business web marketing and search engine optimization.

Contact Mike Banks Valentine

 

 

privacy@website101.com 5318 E. 2nd St. #789 Long Beach, CA 90803