Online Privacy

The 'Privacy' Jihad

The 'Privacy' Jihad is an opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal on those pesky privacy advocates, the "privacy community," "privacy vigilantes," "Privacy zealots," "privacy battalions," "privacy onslaught," "the privocrats." Heather Mac Donald says just when the country should be unleashing its technological ingenuity to defend against future attacks, scientists stand irresolute, cowed into inaction. "The "privocrats" will rightly tell you that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Trouble is, they're aiming their vigilance at the wrong target."

Privacy Concerns over Gmail

There is an article at Wired.com about privacy concerns for Google's new gmail service. According to the article Google will scan incoming email for keywords and put ads into the text of the emails that relate to the keywords.

Web Tip: View a Website's Privacy Policy

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Shopping sites, banking sites, auction sites, and pretty much all other sites that ask you for personal information, including TechTV, have a privacy policy. The policy states how the site collects and uses your personal information. You should always read a site's privacy policy before handing over your name, email address, credit card number, or anything else you'd rather not share with complete strangers.

Instead of telling you to dig around each website to read its privacy, let Internet Explorer show you how websites plan to use your information. Read More.

The erosion of high-tech privacy protection

Salon.com has published an article relating to recent claims about research being conducted into data mining technology that have invoked privacy concerns. According to the article writer, Michael J. Sniffen, the Bush government’s ‘fight against terrorism’ has contributed to the closure of two privacy-protection projects and continuing research into somewhat dubious software technology. This relates to an earlier story posted about the activities of DARPA. -- Read More

How Public Should Public Records Be?

Bob Cox writes "A Minnesota Supreme Court advisory committee has been debating for the past year what kinds of court records should be posted on the Web, and it will accept public comment on the issue. In an increasingly tech-savvy age, the committee is drawing delicate lines between personal privacy and government transparency. The committee will make final recommendations to the Supreme Court, which will decide which records to put on the Web.

The committee is using what it calls a "go-slow approach." Members have agreed to keep some data, such as Social Security numbers, off the Web because the information might be used to commit identity theft. They are prepared to recommend that entire documents, such as divorce records and lawsuits, be kept off the Internet and that only overview information, such as court calendars and court-produced orders, go online.
More here from the Star Tribune"

Does your data belong to you?

Does your data belong to you? is a piece from ZDNet Australia that cites numerous examples of privacy erosion. RFID, Northwest Airlines, and JetBlue.
"Privacy has always been part and parcel of our civil liberties but in the name of security, the basics are always forgotten. If this type of "data mining" continues, privacy will be a privilege... no longer a right."

RFID monitoring

rachel writes "Well, here's one that should add fuel to the fire for those opposing RFID technology in libraries and elsewhere -- WSIS Delegates Bugged by RFIDs"

Citizens strike back in intelligence war

Citizens strike back in intelligence war from over at newscientist.com, takes a look at a website to be launched later in 2003 will allow people to post information about the activities of government organisations, officials and the judiciary.
The two MIT researchers behind the project face one serious problem: how to protect themselves against legal action should any of the postings prove false. The answer, they say, is to borrow a technique from the underground music-swapping community.
[Via /.]

Privacy and Human Rights 2003: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments

David Dillard writes "Privacy issues since the terrorist attacks in the United States have become an even more critical issue in the libraries of the United States, in major part due to the USA PATRIOT Act. The report discussed in this NetGold post may, therefore, be of particular interest to librarians."

The hidden dangers of documents

The Beeb Reports Your Microsoft Word document can give readers more information about you than you might think.
There is a function in many versions of Microsoft Office programs, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint, that means that fragments of data (which Microsoft refers to as metadata) from other files you deleted or were working on at the same time could be hidden in any document you save.

This could be embarrassing for any home workers whose colleagues find out that they have been applying for jobs while working at home or being less than complimentary about their co-workers.

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