Online Privacy

E-mail Wiretapping

Rachel writes \"An article from MSNBC on e-mail spyware that can capture messages from web-based and POP3 services reads in part:

\"Fowler said the software would be useful for parents who want to watch their children’s e-mail activity in the early afternoon hours, when children are home from school but parents are still at work. Law enforcement agencies are also interested, he said — Web-based e-mail like Hotmail was used extensively by the hijackers who planned the Sept. 11 attacks, sometimes in public libraries.
“If our software had been installed in that library it would have recorded that Hotmail,” he said.\" \"

Anonymity @ Your Library on Slashdot

Slashdot is carrying an interesting discussion on building anonymity into software for libraries. Proposals include a reasonably secure web-surfing suite (it could run from CD and write everything to a virtual disk in memory) and letting patrons get anonymous library cards (or simply check out a book for cash and return it for cash, minus late fees and damages).

Naturally, US libraries that did this sort of thing might have to forgo federal funds at some point, but I imagine that some of them have already told the government to stick the e-rate where the sun don\'t shine in order to avoid filtering...

Digital privacy: A curmudgeon\'s guide

David Holtzman has written A Nice Look at being a \"Data Curmudgeon\", one who feels it\'s important to stop personal information flowing into the \"Bytegeist\" of the burgeoning Internet.
He says there are five strategies that people seem to employ to tackle the personal data privacy problem.

Princeton Hacks Yale in \'\'unauthorized\'\' Student Poaching.

Princeton\'s open season on prospective Yale students was apparently
done using only the students \"Social Security numbers and birth dates.\"
The Boston Globe reports that according to Princeton\'s spokesperson, their
director of admissions acknowledged \"at least one \"unauthorized transmission\"
to the Yale Web site.\" He has been given a paid vacation while the offending
school conducts \"\"an aggressive investigation.\"\" In addition to admission
status, financial aid application information and personal and academic
preferences were accessible via the poorly secured logons.
:-( Privacy
accuses Princeton of Web prying:
data at issue; dean placed on leave.\"  -By Mary
Leonard -Boston/Globe

Campus Library Computers Seized

RobertR writes \"Middle Eastern men whispering at library computers was sufficient to call the police in Naples, Florida. Here\'s The Story \"

Don\'t panic, No suspicious or terrorism-linked information was discovered on the Edison Community College computer hard drives seized by Collier County sheriff\'s deputies earlier this week.

$5,000 - $20,000 a Month to Spy on Patron Web Use.

Rather than use
software to block legal websites (because of concerns of a lawsuit), a
Florida county commission is considering using software costing between
$5,000 - $20,000 a month to spy on patrons websurfing via their library
card to find out if patrons visit any \"known pornographic site.\"
won’t end porn access at library:
Commission considers monitoring
software.\" -By Pamela Smith Hayford

Survey: Opt-Out Is a Cop-Out

Here\'s A Sad Story from Wired that says Americans have plenty of complaints about a recently enacted law that requires customers to opt-out if they want to keep financial institutions from sharing their data.

Top items on the grievance list: opt-out notices hidden in thick junk mailings, confusing legal language and the potential for invasive sales tactics.
Your personal information is up for sale to the higest bidder.

Want privacy? Take action Has An Editorial by Dan Gillmore that says the businesses building the next generation of digital services are indifferent, if not hostile, to everything but their immediate bottom lines. I\'d say you can easily add some businesses providing services like databases, opacs and ejournals to this list. He also says legislative agendas frequently run counter to public wishes that conflict with business demands.Our rights, and money, are being legislated away.

Public Internet computers vulnerable to hackers

Cabot writes \"According to this CBC Story checking your e-mail at an Internet café or public place could mean the loss of your privacy. Some experts warn your confidential messages could be easily accessed.\"

It\'s always important to think about who else might have access to that computer you are using, not leave files behind, make sure you have a secure connection and so on.

Finding Pay Dirt in Scannable Driver\'s Licenses

Not 100% library related, but, The NYTimes has a Scary Story on the information people can get off of your drivers license. A bar owner found that he could build a database of personal information, providing an intimate perspective on his clientele that can be useful in marketing.

A good story for to answer the ol\' question \"Why do we worry about patron privacy?\"

\"You swipe the license, and all of a sudden someone\'s whole life as we know it pops up in front of you,\" said Paul Barclay, the bar\'s owner. \"It\'s almost voyeuristic.\"


Subscribe to Online Privacy