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Is Privacy an Urban Myth?

Howard Dean seems to be on record as stating that citizens should be required to use a government-issued ID before they can log on to the Internet. He also seems to say that PC manufacturers should be required to add card-readers to all of their PC products to facilitate this. Read for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
posted by DWRoelands on Jan 27, 2004 - 38 comments

 

Some skin scrapings too?....

Hello Gattaca : "The federal government is planning to overhaul its employee drug testing program to include scrutiny of workers' hair, saliva and sweat, a shift that could spur more businesses to revise screening for millions of their own workers."
posted by troutfishing on Jan 16, 2004 - 31 comments

He Sees You When You're Sleeping...

Big Brother Really Exists, And He's Not Who You Think He Is. While most of those in the privacy realm have been focusing on keeping the government from spying on its citizens, the government has made an end-run: Letting the private sector do it for them. ChoicePoint, an Atlanta-based spinoff from credit agency Equifax, now has more than 200 terrabytes of data on us, and as previously noted, they're not always very good at it. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
posted by darren on Dec 10, 2003 - 25 comments

Disney respect

newspeak from disney: we at the Walt Disney Internet Group are dedicated to protecting your privacy and handling any personal information we obtain from you with care and respect. How is your personally identifiable information used and shared? The Walt Disney Family of Companies may use your personally identifiable information in many ways, including sending you promotional materials, and sharing your information with third parties so that these third parties can send you promotional materials. [...]As another example of Operational Uses, we may share your personal information with the Walt Disney World © Resort telephone reservations center [...] The Walt Disney Family of Companies may share your personal information with companies that offer products and/or services under brand names of The Walt Disney Family of Companies. [...] use of personal information shared with them under this Privacy Policy is subject to the same opt-out rights (and limitations upon those rights)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht on Nov 16, 2003 - 9 comments

Poindexter is an Agent

Why We Should Fear The Matrix. No, not the movie, the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange program. It's a new version of the Total Information Awareness program for participating states which is run by a private corporation, Seisint Inc. Needless to say, privacy advocates are concerned.
posted by homunculus on Nov 10, 2003 - 12 comments

Personal information being sent abroad

We need an "Information Technology Disclosure Act." The Programmer's Guild is pushing for the creation of legislation to require companies which outsource abroad to tell consumers when their sensitive personal information is being sent to companies in other countries. This aspect of outsourcing has gotten little attention, but the SF Chronicle's David Lazarus has reported on it being done by hospitals (like UCSF, which is being threatened over back pay by a transcriber in Pakistan), accountants, banks (BofA), telecom companies (SBC), and perhaps most alarmingly, two of the three major credit-reporting agencies.
posted by homunculus on Nov 9, 2003 - 24 comments

Google rules!

I half figured this would be posted here by now... The folks at Google have done it again. The Google deskbar has been released. In front of their apparent IPO (previously discussed here), Google rolls out something even cooler than their toolbar. Cue the critics saying that this deskbar violates my privacy somehow. As I hope we all know, Google has fixed the toolbar problems, albeit after people started complaining.
posted by ajpresto on Nov 6, 2003 - 45 comments

Tripp gets her pay-off

Hey, Linda. Thanks for all you've done! Linda Tripp gets a $600K settlement from Bush's Defense Department for having her privacy violated. Oh, sickening irony. via TPM
posted by jpoulos on Nov 4, 2003 - 63 comments

This is not the 555 area code

Now it's officially a trend: Attacking the privacy of those who invade privacy (bottom of page) by publicizing their information. What's the verb for this going to be? I think "Barrying" should be a contender.
posted by soyjoy on Oct 14, 2003 - 19 comments

RFID: Taking Away Your Privacy One Product at a Time

We've discussed it before, but RFID, that fun-loving little radio transmitter that can be attached to everything from that stereo system to a carton of milk, is plowing ahead faster than you can say "unregulated." Earlier this year, Wal-Mart issued a mandate that required its top 100 suppliers to include RFIDs on their merchandise by 2005, bringing new meaning to the phrase "panties in a bunch." (Incidentally, Wal-Mart was also the benign corporation that ushered in bar codes for mass consumption in the late 70s and early 80s.) With no regulations on the table, the New York Times reports that the Defense Department plans to issue a statement requiring all suppliers to use RFID. Hitachi has even offered to put it in your currency. Imagine a store a few years from now that can track all of the objects in your cart, and that, thanks to a microscopic RFID stuck to your shoe when you slide through the doors, can determine how many seconds you or your children react to a display. Imagine a world that tracks exactly where each one of your dollar bills go. (So much for the anonymity of johns and porn enthusiasts.) Is this the kind of world we want to abdicate to large retail corporations? Is this the kind of information that governments or private institutions are entitled to know? Discuss.
posted by ed on Sep 29, 2003 - 96 comments

JetBlue knows you...

And I was really looking forward to those wide leather seats... Looks like JetBlue sold out, and created a dossier on YOU in the process!!
posted by matty on Sep 18, 2003 - 21 comments

Privacy around the world

Privacy & Human Rights 2003. This report by EPIC and Privacy International reviews the state of privacy rights in 56 countries around the world. For anyone concerned about video surveillance, there are a variety of ways to respond.
posted by homunculus on Sep 10, 2003 - 2 comments

Where do I lick the barcode?

Postal ID Plan A government report urges the U.S. Postal Service to create "smart stamps" to track the identity of people who send mail. [more inside]
posted by Irontom on Aug 13, 2003 - 20 comments

Universal Surveillance, Inc.

RFID tagging and tracking plans (mirror 1, mirror 2) With the tag line "Identify Any Object Anywhere Automatically", this group (the MIT Auto-ID Center) is leading the way into our bold new future of total tracking. {Originally uncovered by CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering)}
posted by Irontom on Jul 8, 2003 - 18 comments

FBI in the library

The FBI has not been here. Librarians, who can be required by the FBI to submit library records of private citizens under the PATRIOT Act--and who are prohibited from making these requests public--have invented some clever, legal strategies to fight back. (via japanesejoint.com)
posted by Espoo2 on Jun 22, 2003 - 13 comments

TiVo to Sell User Viewing Data

TiVo to Sell User Viewing Data TiVo executives said they will be gathering information only in aggregate, such as by ZIP code and that the habits of individual users will remain anonymous. However, not everyone agrees that TiVo can't/isn't tracking individual viewing habits. And now advertisers will be able to see exactly how many commercials we're all zipping past.
posted by stevis on Jun 2, 2003 - 17 comments

Be careful with what you write

Here's an interesting story for people who like to write and post stuff on the internet Judge Diana Lewis of Circuit Court in West Palm Beach issued an order that forbids Mr. Max to write about Ms. Johnson. That prohibition is not limited to his website. She ruled on May 6, before Mr. Max was notified of the suit and without holding a hearing. She told Mr. Max that he could not use "Katy" on his site. Nor could he use Ms. Johnson's last name, full name or the words "Miss Vermont." The judge also prohibited Mr. Max from "disclosing any stories, facts or information, notwithstanding its truth, about any intimate or sexual acts engaged in by" Ms. Johnson. Finally, Judge Lewis ordered Mr. Max to sever the virtual remains of his relationship with Ms. Johnson. He is no longer allowed to link to her Web site. ... All this as a result of a lawsuit in which Ms. Johnson maintained that Mr. Max had invaded her privacy by publishing accurate information about her.
posted by magullo on Jun 2, 2003 - 39 comments

No more Scarlet Letter!

Is this your fetus? Are you the one I slept with? Remember when we discussed this before? Florida has now been forced by 4 plaintiffs and the ACLU to repeal the so-called Scarlet Letter law that forces women who are pregnant and giving children up for adoption to take out an ad local papers once a week for 4 weeks, stating her name and her sexual history in the last year, to let men know if they *might* be the father. Here is the ACLU legal brief. The details about the decision are in the first link. Thank god for the ACLU.
posted by aacheson on Apr 25, 2003 - 46 comments

Nationalise Google?

Nationalise Google? "Perhaps the time has come to recognise this dominant search engine for what it is - a public utility that must be regulated in the public interest." Bill Thompson from the BBC tells me that Google puts a cookie on my computer that can't be deleted till 2038: "This means that Google builds up a detailed profile of your search terms over many years. Google probably knew when you last thought you were pregnant, what diseases your children have had, and who your divorce lawyer is. It refuses to say why it wants this information or to admit whether it makes it available to the US Government for tracking purposes." Are they "a secretive, hyper-competitive company with no respect for the personal privacy of its users"? Are other search engines better behaved? And is this the beginning of search ethics?
posted by theplayethic on Apr 14, 2003 - 60 comments

Just as long as we get to keep the guns ....\

PayPal charged with breaking Patriot Act. Anybody care to explain what does terrorism have to do with glambing? (No, it is not a rescued April fool's joke ...)
posted by magullo on Apr 11, 2003 - 10 comments

The Next Time You Hear that Beep, remember you can be on Supermarket Sweep!

The Next Time You Hear that Beep, you can be on Supermarket Privacy Sweep! I'm sure most of us own Supermarket Discount Cards, I mean who can resist the savings? If you don't like being monitored, help out the always popular Rob at Cockeyed.com become the Ultimate Shopper by using his card (NYT Article here). I'm always a bit wary when I use mine, I'm afraid they may find out how boring I really am. I'm tempted to sexy up my database profile: "I'd like to buy come chocolate chip cookies... and ah.. some vaseline and hamster food. Oh, and straws!" Then Safeway will give me a discount on new underwear, fo shizzle my nizzle!
posted by Stan Chin on Mar 13, 2003 - 33 comments

Big Brother Is Watching You...Idiotically

Nominate the world's stupidest security procedure. UK-based watchdog group, Privacy International, is accepting nominations until March 15th from the general public about the most annoying and invasive security measures with the lowest effectiveness in protecting individual safety. What would you nominate?
posted by jonp72 on Mar 6, 2003 - 19 comments

damn telemarketers

Thought you were rid of the telemarketers? Perhaps not. It looks like they're fighting back to items like the TeleZapper that fake telemarketers into thinking your phone is disconnected by playing the three tones you get if your phone doesn't work. Castel, Inc claims their DirectQuest software defeats devices like Telezapper by reading the connect messages delivered by your public switched telephone network. Fave quote - “It’s a privacy arms race.." Will this ever end?
posted by djspicerack on Feb 27, 2003 - 17 comments

One hell of an overdue fine

So, we all know the Patriot Act allows for the monitoring of library and computer usage. Big deal, right? I mean how many people can they watch and what are the odds?

Maybe not as good (or bad, depending on your view) as you might think,"A St. John’s College Library visit by a former public defender was abruptly interrupted February 13 when city police officers arrested him about 9 p.m. at the computer terminal he was using, handcuffed him, and brought him to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, police station for questioning by Secret Service agents from Albuquerque."
posted by cedar on Feb 26, 2003 - 45 comments

Google as Big Brother

A Google boondoggle? Does Google deserve your nomination for Big Brother of the Year? Nine points from the previously mentioned folks at Google Watch. (via the Disinformation Newsletter)
posted by boost ventilator on Feb 18, 2003 - 27 comments

navelmaniac.com

These belly buttons pictures were all taken on the streets of Brussels, with a small digital camera.
posted by hama7 on Jan 13, 2003 - 22 comments

Red Alert!!

At InfoSecuity 2002, an annual corporate security conference, new "computer forensics" software is on display, including software "that allows corporate IT folks to research employees' criminal histories, credit information, financial asset details, friends and associates. "

The software is called Red Alert 2.0, and more specifically the research software is an optional subscription based add-on called Intelligent Information Dossier plus. Isn't this tantamount to your employer spying on your private life, in real time?

As I work for a very large military contractor myself, I could easily see something like this being used where I work. Would you feel comfortable working for a company that uses this sort of intrusive software?
posted by SweetJesus on Dec 13, 2002 - 21 comments

E-Bay Scammers and Internet Fraud

A Mac user scorned is a dangerous thing... Gotta hand it to this guy: persistence pays off. After being scammed with $3000 in forged cashier checques in an eBay transaction, this seller took matters into his own hands. How secure do you feel making transaction over eBay and related services? What kinds of internet fraud have you faced or fear? And most interesting of all, to what extent have you gone to correct evils done to you?
posted by tgrundke on Dec 12, 2002 - 51 comments

Giving kids' privacy away

"It's a vast departure from the way we've done business," said Donna Harlan, an associate superintendent in the Northampton school system. "We are not in the business of giving lists of names of kids to anybody. That was tough. The issue was if we were to receive federal or state money, we had to comply with the law."
posted by artifex on Dec 2, 2002 - 5 comments

You Are a Suspect

You Are a Suspect A growing awareness by those on the right and on the left that our rights are now seriously in threat of total erosion in light of new Petnagon proposal to track all moves of citizens in giagantic data base. may require reg for NY Times.
posted by Postroad on Nov 14, 2002 - 66 comments

One small step for technology, one giant leap towards a world with no secrets.
posted by Fupped Duck on Nov 9, 2002 - 9 comments

Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans

Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans And this is justified because of National Security. We will lose much that is personal, private, but in turn we will be protefted against the bad guys. Or will we? When NASA and CIA claim they need to spy domestically, and computers gather all data on Americans, what is left that is not what Orwell had suggested might our future be like?Or, as Morth Sahl once labelled a comic record: TheFuture Lies Ahead."
posted by Postroad on Nov 9, 2002 - 97 comments

Welcome to the public library. Please check your rights at the door.

Welcome to the public library. Please check your rights at the door. The Patriot Act contains provisions that gag librarians when subpoenaed (from a secret court!) for circulation records. Seems like in at least one place, it's already being used. How about your own library?
posted by Cerebus on Nov 6, 2002 - 29 comments

Are you using AOL IM at work?

Are you using AOL IM at work? Chatting with your buds or SO while you should probably be working? Well, in a desperate attempt to turn some kind of profit, AOL is willing to sell your boss the ability to be in on the conversation, too.
posted by crunchland on Nov 5, 2002 - 21 comments

The Mark of the Beast?

The Mark of the Beast? After the quick FDA approval of implantable human chips , Applied Digital Solutions , the manufacturer of the chips, has already launched a national campaign with the tagline "Get Chipped", and people are lining up. Other's are afraid, for one reason or another.
posted by Espoo2 on Oct 25, 2002 - 28 comments

Want to make sure Mr. Orwell was just a novelist and not a prophet? Some people have been coming up with ways to reduce your exposure to surveillance cameras. Others just put on plays for those who monitor the cameras. My favorite: zapping them with laser pointers.
posted by Irontom on Oct 8, 2002 - 19 comments

Do you plan to stay at a Marriott hotel any time soon? If so, you might want to relieve yourself in the dark since a spy cam was found in a Marriott hotel's bathroom lighting fixture and connected to the same circuit so as to turn on with the lights.
posted by David Dark on Sep 25, 2002 - 24 comments

What are the ethics of forwarding an e-mail you were not mean to receive? What if it is sure to humiliate the sender? What if it ends up entertaining untold numbers of people around the globe?
posted by davidfg on Sep 16, 2002 - 35 comments

Finally, a Fair Fight with Big Music

Finally, a Fair Fight with Big Music From a Business Week Online column..."Telecom giant Verizon is battling the industry's bid to make it name a file-sharing subscriber. It's also defending your right to privacy. On July 24, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) made an unprecedented request of Verizon Communications (VZ). The music industry's trade association served the telecom with a subpoena, seeking the identity of a Verizon subscriber who had allegedly illegally traded digital songs by artists including Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and "boy band" N'Sync. The RIAA didn't specify why it wanted to know who the user was or what it would do with the information."
posted by fpatrick on Sep 12, 2002 - 22 comments

Women who put babies up for adoption required to publish sexual pasts

Women who put babies up for adoption required to publish sexual pasts Web sites can't collect info on minors, but Florida wants all women, including minors, to publish their sexual history in local newspapers before they're allowed to give their child up for adoption. Abortions are difficult to get in Florida, almost impossible for some minors because of parental notification and permission requirements, yet wouldn't this law push more women towards abortion rather than towards adoption?
posted by dejah420 on Aug 7, 2002 - 83 comments

Net Users Try to Elude the Google Grasp

Net Users Try to Elude the Google Grasp (NYT) "The Internet, which was supposed to usher in an era of limitless information, is leading some people to restrict the information that they make available about themselves."
posted by dayvin on Jul 25, 2002 - 41 comments

Pregnancy test results are not considered part of confidential medical records.

Pregnancy test results are not considered part of confidential medical records. Why, you say? Because the cops wanted to find out who dumped an abandoned baby, and subpoenaed Planned Parenthood's records to see who had gotten positive pregnancy test results recently. The rationale for the judge's ruling? "...the records aren't medical records because the staff who provide pregnancy tests aren't required to be doctors or nurses."
posted by beth on Jul 18, 2002 - 14 comments

Investigators Want Records From Planned Parenthood

Investigators Want Records From Planned Parenthood Where do we draw the line between patient privacy and investigating crimes? A county judge has ruled that the records be turned over to the sheriff. Planned Parenthood is appealing.
posted by justlisa on Jul 2, 2002 - 26 comments

Microsoft unleashes Palladium, an intrusive doozy of a feature involving specially secure AMD/Intel computer chips and cryptology provided by Microsoft. Newsweek's head-bobbing Steven Levy, the first to get the story, remains taciturn, failing to call into question Microsoft's security sins of the past. Geeks run scared while digital rights and GPL concerns are wholly ignored by the mainstream media. Is this yet another example of a malcontent media that will never possess the balls to actually question a new feature put out by Microsoft? Even Wired can't seem to read between the lines of a technology that "stemmed from early work by engineers to deliver digital movies that couldn't be pirated."
posted by ed on Jun 25, 2002 - 16 comments

Intellectual Freedom Issues,

Intellectual Freedom Issues,
from the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Roundtable.

"Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas."

American Library Association Code of Ethics: "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted."
posted by sheauga on Jun 25, 2002 - 5 comments

Show called "Harassment"

Show called "Harassment" results in, well, harassment! MTV and their co-conspirator, the Hard Rock Hotel, are being sued for "invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress and fraud, among other things."
posted by ilsa on Jun 13, 2002 - 32 comments

"British Liberty, RIP"

"British Liberty, RIP"
A leader article on the danger represented by the British Government's new Statutory Order and the need for Parliamentarians to step in and resist. (The Order will allow a wide range of organisations access to phone and internet records - The Guardian's own story with details is here.)
Ben Franklin has been quoted here many times before, but I have no hesitation quoting him again: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
posted by jonpollard on Jun 11, 2002 - 10 comments

Government Will Ease Limits on Domestic Spying by F.B.I.

Government Will Ease Limits on Domestic Spying by F.B.I. (NY Times link) As part of a sweeping effort to transform the F.B.I. into a domestic terrorism prevention agency, Attorney General John Ashcroft has decided to relax restrictions on the bureau's ability to conduct domestic spying in counterterrorism operations, senior government officials said today. Here's the Wash. Post's take on the story.
posted by Ty Webb on May 30, 2002 - 21 comments

Minnesota passes internet privacy bill.

Minnesota passes internet privacy bill. How enforcable is this? How long before other States follow suit? Many questions. Same story on Yahoo.
posted by KevinSkomsvold on May 24, 2002 - 3 comments

This article in the always interesting Technology Review describes new technology that goes well beyond regular "spyware." BayTSP even automates their cease-and-desist letters. It all made me think of people like this.
posted by anathema on May 24, 2002 - 2 comments

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