Online Privacy

New kind of snooping taking place at the office

Steve Fesenmaier writes "Corporations and other organizations are snooping on their workers' computers more than ever. Here is a good survey of what is going on - and how organizations should have a printed policy,etc.The full story is at
The NYTimes. They say corporate executives are becoming increasingly aggressive about spying on their employees, and with good reason: now, in addition to job shirkers and office-supply thieves, they have to worry about being held accountable for the misconduct of their subordinates. "

Government Information Awareness

Two cheeky fellows at MIT have turned the tables on the US government and its Total Information Awareness program by creating a website that offers information on government officials. Called Government Information Awareness the bonus is that anyone can add their own intelligence reports on officials, with no requirement that the information be verified. One of the project\'s creators, Chris Csikszentmihalyi, refers to it as \"sort of a citizen\'s intelligence agency.\" The TIA, now renamed the Terrorist Information act, after a public outcry over privacy concerns, was created to track possible terrorist activity by analyzing vast amounts of information stored in government and private databases, such as credit card data.
The rest of the story here from and here from Wired. Also a great discussion at slashdot. GIA page is very slow to load, or will not load at all, as of 7/5 a.m.

Web Firms Choose Profit Over Privacy

Someone writes " Jonathan Krim
Washington Post Staff Writer looks at the state of online privacy. With the onslaught of spam, almost all companies promise not to sell consumer data. But many don't mention that such information is rented. This means that the list owner won't release the data to an outside marketer, but it will send messages to the list on the outsider's behalf. Targeted lists available for rent number in the thousands, including those from magazines, professional organizations and even political interest groups such as Republicans for Jesus.

"Companies continually troll for, and exploit, personally identifiable information," said Joseph Turow, a media professor at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in mass marketing. "Some Web sites unabashedly collect all the information they can about visitors and market [it] as aggressively as they can to advertisers and other marketers."

Covering your tracks: It's tricky but doable

David Hoye has A Column on keeping your computer tracks a secret.
He says Pornography might be at the top of a few lists. But there are plenty of other reasons to cover your electronic tracks. Hiding online shopping for a surprise birthday gift, keeping a nosy roommate at bay or cleaning up an old computer before it's donated are just a few.

He provides a few ways to cover your tracks.

New Name of Pentagon Data Sweep Focuses on Terror

A Very Defiant Duckling Named Ender writes:
"Saying they are worried about Americans' privacy, Pentagon officials announced in a report today that they were changing the name of a projected system to mine databases for information to help catch terrorists to Terrorist Information Awareness from Total Information Awareness."
Ender gives us several views of the story, from the New York Times, the National Law Journal and the Gulf News
(Dateline Dubai). Also an interesting op/ed by Ted Rall.

U.S. promises safeguards on spy system

CNN Reports on an unusual coalition of liberal and conservative advocacy groups and some senators who want to keep tight congressional control on the Pentagon's planned anti-terror surveillance system despite new promises it will use only legally collected personal data.

Surveillance Nation—Part Two

Surveillance Nation-2 (Part 1) from Technology Review says though we are submitting ourselves to a proliferation of monitoring technologies, a loss of privacy is not inevitable.
They say it will be constrained by the structure of the huge databases necessary to store and manipulate surveillance data—and by the cultural and legal environment in which those databases arise. In fact, the way databases are configured may help foster accountability and usage policies that could regulate the deployment of surveillance.

Librarians and Privacy - All Things Considered Audio

NPR\'s Larry Abramson reports on librarians\' concerns that anti-terrorism laws will require them to violate their patrons\' privacy. Librarians are holding workshops to learn about their responsibilities and options.

Listen Here [Real File]
Thanks to Jen Young for this link.

Yes, You Are Being Watched

Sammy writes "Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service has written a rather long look at all the ways we are being watched from all sides, government, corps, and your boss. He finishes with a look at surveillance nightmares that will probably just be bad dreams for a long time. They include Heat-sensitive infrared cameras, Robotics technology, military satellites and face-recognition.
Does anyone care?

Privacy Advocates Warn Colleges Not to Monitor Content of Students' File Sharing

This Chronicle of Higher Education is on This Letter from that urges colleges not to monitor the content of peer-to-peer and other file-sharing transmissions. The group says such monitoring could violate student privacy


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