Sunday, September 23, 2007

What Will Make Privacy Important to Public & Business?


For several years now I've blogged about privacy laws, data mining, data breaches, search privacy, cookies, phishing, spyware, data theft and big brother.

What never fails to amaze me is the fact that few people care about privacy until it touches them personally through identity theft, harmed reputation, excessive spamming, loss of work or public embarrassment.

I've searched for ways to spur public discussion of the need for effective privacy laws and protections. There is the ocassional flare-up in public interest when AOL leaks the private searches of their users to the world. There are dumb moves by our government when they over-reach their authority and exceed reason as when the Department of Justice demanded 30 days of search data from the top tier search engines.

There are silly stumbles of companies when they expose users to spam by including ALL their customer database of emails in stupid slip-ups. There are major cases of careless greed when data mining companies continuously sell consumer data to criminals because they won't bother to check their own customers need for (or even the right to) private financial data. There is the proposal by the Bush Administration that we have a (poorly designed) defacto National ID required of us to travel anywhere, which becomes an even greater risk to security and privacy.

I could go on for days with this. But to get to the point of this post, I've searched for ways to engage the public in discussion of important privacy issues of the day, so far without effect.

So when I see ways that may help expose the privacy issues discussion to more people, I leap on it with gusto in the hopes that it will bring more attention to privacy laws and protections. I've discovered a tool that may help bring privacy to more bloggers and those involved in building the technologies of the web.

It's called BlogRush and works on the principle of the old banner exchange model - but this one operates with an embeddable widget. The more times you display the widget, the more "credits" you get for your posts being displayed within the widgets of other members of the BlogRush Network. The concept is extended beyond simple one-to-one numbers as those who get their widgets from you, then expose your widget to their own audience and you gain more credits for display of your post headlines across the network on all bloggers using the widget. It seems like the model will overextend itself at some point unless growth is phenomenal and sustained over time.

Nevertheless, I'm happy to try it out and see if the model works for exposing privacy concerns to the world of influential bloggers. Take the BlogRush widget you see to the right on this blog and see how it works for you to increase the visibility of your most important topic. If your topic involves the need to research privacy at all - try out our Privacy Search Engine which draws ONLY from authoritative privacy sources via the Google Custom Search Engine.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Real ID - Oppose Defacto National ID - Driver License


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2007

Contact:
Melissa Ngo
Director, EPIC Identification and Surveillance Project
(202) 483-1140 ext. 123
ngo AT epic.org

FORTY-THREE GROUPS ANNOUNCE NATIONAL REAL ID PUBLIC CAMPAIGN

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, 43 organizations representing transpartisan, nonpartisan, privacy, consumer, civil liberty, civil rights, and immigrant organizations have joined to launch a national campaign to solicit public comments to stop the nation's first national ID system: REAL ID.

The groups joining in the anti-REAL ID campaign are concerned about the increased threat of counterfeiting and identity theft, lack of security to protect against unauthorized access to the document's machine readable content, increased cost to taxpayers, diverting of state funds intended for homeland security, increased costs for obtaining a license or state issued ID card, and because the REAL ID would create a false belief that it is secure and unforgeable.

This effort builds on the momentum that is signaling broad opposition to the REAL ID in the states. Montana has become the fifth state, following Maine, Idaho, Arkansas, and Washington, to prohibit cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security in implementing the REAL ID national identification system.

Under the Act, states and federal government would share access to a vast national database that could include images of birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce papers, court ordered separations, medical records, and detailed information on the name, date of birth, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, address, telephone, e-mail address, Social Security Number for more than 240 million with no requirements or controls on how this database might be used. Many may not have the documents required to obtain a REAL ID, or they may face added requirements base on arbitrary and capricious decisions made by DMV employees.

EPIC joins this group of 43 organizations in a fight against the national identification system created by the Department of Homeland Security. "Make no mistake, this is a national identification system that will affect your everyday life," said Melissa Ngo, Director of EPIC's Identification and Surveillance Project. "Critics of the REAL ID scheme are called anti-security, but it is not anti-security to reject a national identification system that will harm our national security and make it easier for criminals to pretend to be law-abiding Americans."

The draft regulations to implement the REAL ID Act are open for comment until 5 p.m. EST on May 8, 2007. To take action and submit comments against the fundamentally flawed national identification scheme, under Docket No. 2006-0030-0001.

Online: Through the public submission portal at:

http://www.regulations.gov

Or use one of the more user-friendly sites found at the following web addresses:

EFF

Privacy Activism

To Fax Comments to the Department of Homeland Security:

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Privacy Coalition

Or send a letter to the agency. Fax: 1-866-466-5370.

Postal mail:
Department of Homeland Security
Attn: NAC 1-12037
Washington, DC 20528

All comments must be received by until 5:00 PM EST on May 8, 2007.

Visit the Stop REAL ID Campaign site

Visit EPIC's National ID Cards and REAL ID Act page

List of all of the Groups Supporting this Campaign:

American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
American Library Association
American Policy Center
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Association of American Physicians & Surgeons
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Digital Democracy
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Citizen Outreach Project.
Citizens Against Government Waste
Common Cause
Computing Professionals for Social Responsibility
Consumer Action
DownsizeDC.org
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Fairfax County Privacy Council
Give Me Back My Rights Coalition
Government Accountability Project
Gun Owners of America
Immigrant Workers Union
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Liberty Coalition
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of La Raza
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Immigration Law Center
OpenCarry.org
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Patient Privacy Rights Foundation
People for the American Way
Privacy Activism
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Privacy Times
Republican Liberty Caucus
Rutherford Institute, The
The Arc of the United States United Cerebral Palsy
The Multiracial Activist
US Bill of Rights Foundation
Virginia Citizens Defense League
Virginia Gun Owners Coalition
World Privacy Forum

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