Online Privacy

'Perfect storm' for new privacy laws?

Anonymous Patron writes "'Perfect storm' for new privacy laws? from CNET A series of security break-ins is kick-starting a political drive to reshape federal laws that dictate how companies protect personal information--and what they have to do if that data leaks out."

Patron Privacy Issues in Dane County, WI

Anonymous Patron writes "Libraries, law officers sometimes clash is from Madison Wisconsin. A majority of states, including Wisconsin, protect patron privacy by requiring a warrant or a court order to access library records. But after passage of the federal USA Patriot Act, which relaxed the rules for information gathering, many librarians across the country became outspoken activists against the law and for the right to privacy."

Florida Library says kids, nude art don't mix

Anonymous Patron writes "Bradenton Herald reports Three watercolors were removed from an exhibit at the library because they showed nude bodies.

Local artist Ginger White said her artwork was taken down by library officials after a maintenance worker complained.

Library officials say the artwork is fine, just in the wrong place, which is why it was removed."

Don't Click Send: Your Boss Is Watching

An Anonymous Patron writes "A couple of interesting computers at work related articles. Don't Click Send! says what some people may not realize is that sending the wrong e-mail to the wrong person can be more than monumentally embarrassing. It can cost you a job, or even a few months in jail. If you're composing an e-mail message that resembles any of the following disasters, just step away from the keyboard and go for a walk to clear your head.
Your Boss Is Watching says Internet account you have at work is not your private space. It's also your boss's space, and your boss's boss's space, and so on up the line. In fact, if you think you have any real privacy on the job, you're laboring under a delusion. Here are some of the more common myths about Net privacy at work."

Internet Porn: Ask before you look!

Lee Hadden writes "The Washington Post has an interesting article on an obscure Virginia law
that restricts Internet searching. "For Many State Workers, an Unknown Restriction Rarely Enforced Va. Law Requires Permission to See Explicit Sites." By David McGuire, Staff Writer. Tuesday, October 5, 2004; 6:30 AM

See: 5-2004Oct4.html

In 1996, Virginia became the only state in the country to require its employees to ask permission before looking at sexually explicit material online. Professors, social workers, and public health officials all come under the scope of the law, which only exempts law enforcement officials.
Educators challenged the law shortly after it was enacted but lost their fight to have it erased from the books in 2001, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the matter.

Sharon Hays, a sociology professor at the University of Virginia, said she wasn't aware of the law and had never been told by administrators
that she should seek permission before viewing sexually explicit material.

The Privacy Lawyer: RFID May Be Risky Business

Anonymous Patron writes "The Privacy Lawyer: RFID May Be Risky Business is an InformationWeek Article by Parry Aftab a cyberspace lawyer, specializing in online privacy and security law. She takes a look at RFID and says as we move closer to the day when individual items by and large will be tagged, companies had better be prepared to have clear policies for how they'll handle data they may collect from consumers.In the rush to adopt RFID, businesses have not paid enough attention to legal and consumer-relations risks. And, until consumers are convinced that the benefits of RFID outweigh their privacy and security concerns, this may be a very serious risk indeed.
Can we say the same thing about libraries?"

California E-Mail Privacy Bill Passes Legislature, Heads to Governor's Desk

California Senator Debra Bowen's electronic privacy bill, SB 1841, which requires employers to notify employees before they read their employees e-mails or track Web sites they visit, is heading to the governor's desk. The measure, backed by consumer and privacy advocates, passed the Senate this week on a 23-11 vote.

Governor Schwarzenegger will have until September 30th to sign, veto, or let it become law without his signature. Read more.

Idea of Implanting ID Tags Raises Orwellian Fears

Advocates of technologies like radio frequency identification tags say their potentially life-saving benefits far outweigh any Orwellian concerns about privacy. RFID tags sewn into clothing or even embedded under people's skin could curb identity theft, help identify disaster victims and improve medical care, they say.

Critics, however, say such technologies would make it easier for government agencies to track a person's every movement and allow widespread invasion of privacy. Abuse could take countless other forms, including corporations surreptitiously identifying shoppers for relentless sales pitches. Critics also speculate about a day when people's possessions will be tagged, allowing nosy subway riders with the right technology to examine the contents of nearby purses and backpacks.
Read More.

Email Privacy Protection Not Available Under Current US Law

Protecting email communications may seem like a no brainer. After all, it is illegal in most jurisdictions to eavesdrop on telephone conversations or to open another person's mail.
However, the concept that the protection offered to these forms of private communication has been extended to email was severely harmed in a recent decision by the US Courts. Read More.

E-Mail Snooping Decision Has Wide Privacy Implications

According to a recent report byWired, a federal appeals court in Massachusetts recently ruled that Bradford C. Councilman, president of Interloc, a company that sold rare and out-of-print books to booksellers and provided customers with free e-mail accounts, did not break the law when he copied and read e-mail messages sent to customers through his server. Upholding a lower-court decision that the provider did not violate the Wiretap Act, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set a precedent for e-mail service providers to legally read e-mail that passes through their network. Read More.


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