Online Privacy

Database misuse: who watches the watchers?

Pete writes "The Register, interesting as always, has this to say about databases and privacy, "Misuse of database information by insiders happens everyday, and there's little we can do about it.Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodies?What's bothering me now? It's the security and privacy stories that don't make major headlines, and recently I stumbled across two that stuck with me. The first only came my way when the Drudge Report picked it up. A woman in Florida wrote some rather unflattering remarks about a local sheriff in the newspaper. She was then caught off guard after receiving a letter at home from the sheriff himself, using her full name. Inquiries from reporters revealed the fact that the sheriff and his staff had used Florida's driving records system to access personal information about the lady after seeing the letter in the newspaper."To find out the other incident you'll have to read on..."

Your Identity Crisis

Anonymous Patron writes "A Great Article from takes a long look at our information that is being sold and stolen. The problem that the recent data heists have generated, is that most US citizens never knew how much data was being gathered on them ("a lot more than they thought") and how safe such databases were ("a lot less than they thought"). Bills will undoubtedly be introduced into Congress - more grist for the compliance mill."

It's official: ChoicePoint, LexisNexis rooted many times

Anonymous Patron writes "The Register looks at the ChoicePoint & LexisNexis mess. Privacy invasion behemoths ChoicePoint and LexisNexis have lost control of sensitive data in the past, but deliberately covered it up because no law required them to come clean, executives from both outfits confessed Wednesday during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the recent epidemic of ID theft plaguing the USA. has more, and if this kind of thing interests you, read Mitigating identity theft from CNET."

LexisNexis Data on 310,000 People Feared Stolen

Anonymous Patron writes "Reuters: Data broker LexisNexis said Tuesday that personal information may have been stolen on 310,000 U.S. citizens, or nearly 10 times the number found in a data breach announced last month.

An investigation by the firm's Anglo-Dutch parent Reed Elsevier determined that its databases had been fraudulently breached 59 times using stolen passwords, leading to the possible theft of personal information such as addresses and Social Security numbers."

Harry Potter Fans Target Of Scam E-Mail

Anonymous Patron sends "news that youngsters are being promised something magical in return for a little bit of financial info.

Kathy Barrett, of the Better Business Bureau, said an e-mail sent to millions of Harry Potter fans is asking children for their parents' bank account numbers and passwords in exchange for something magical.

More here "

'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.


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