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TUCoPS :: Privacy :: priv_108.txt

Privacy Digest 1.08 7/17/92




PRIVACY Forum Digest        Friday, 17 July 1992        Volume 01 : Issue 08

         Moderated by Lauren Weinstein (lauren@cv.vortex.com)
                Vortex Technology, Topanga, CA, U.S.A.
	
                     ===== PRIVACY FORUM =====

   	  The PRIVACY Forum digest is supported in part by the 
	      ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy.


CONTENTS
	Rental applications and privacy (Willis H. Ware)
	Topic Suggestion: Personal Experiences (Moderator--Lauren Weinstein)

 *** Please include a RELEVANT "Subject:" line on all submissions! ***
            *** Submissions without them may be ignored! ***

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The PRIVACY Forum is a moderated digest for the discussion and analysis of
issues relating to the general topic of privacy (both personal and
collective) in the "information age" of the 1990's and beyond.  The
moderator will choose submissions for inclusion based on their relevance and
content.  Submissions will not be routinely acknowledged.

ALL submissions should be addressed to "privacy@cv.vortex.com" and must have
RELEVANT "Subject:" lines.  Submissions without appropriate and relevant
"Subject:" lines may be ignored.  Subscriptions are by an automatic
"listserv" system; for subscription information, please send a message
consisting of the word "help" (quotes not included) in the BODY of a message
to: "privacy-request@cv.vortex.com".  Mailing list problems should be
reported to "list-maint@cv.vortex.com".  All submissions included in this
digest represent the views of the individual authors and all submissions
will be considered to be distributable without limitations. 

The PRIVACY Forum archive, including all issues of the digest and all
related materials, is available via anonymous FTP from site "cv.vortex.com",
in the "/privacy" directory.  Use the FTP login "ftp" or "anonymous", and
enter your e-mail address as the password.  The typical "README" and "INDEX"
files are available to guide you through the files available for FTP
access.  PRIVACY Forum materials may also be obtained automatically via
e-mail through the listserv system.  Please follow the instructions above
for getting the listserv "help" information, which now includes details
regarding the "index" and "get" listserv commands, which are used to access
the PRIVACY Forum archive.

For information regarding the availability of this digest via FAX, please
send an inquiry to privacy-fax@cv.vortex.com, call (310) 455-9300, or FAX
to (310) 455-2364.
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VOLUME 01, ISSUE 08

    Quote for the day:

	"When the plumber Zabladowski has installed the last sink,
	 I want him disintegrated.  I want you to disintegrate him
	 slowly.  I want him to suffer.  Atom by atom.  At dawn!"
	
		       -- Dr. Terwilliker
	                  "The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T." (1953)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date:    Tue, 07 Jul 92 17:00:28 PDT
From:    "Willis H. Ware" <willis%iris@rand.org>
Subject: Rental applications and privacy

RE: susie@cv.vortex.com (Susie Hirsch) and the problem with rental
applications.  I'm afraid that she psyched it out right: hope for the best
and trust that you won't be victimized.

Actually this is one example of what I referred to 10-15 years ago as
"data puddles" -- small collections of personal and possibly sensitive
information -- that would get created and lie around as a byproduct of
being in some line of business.  My example at the time was the databases
accumulated in the checkout stands of supermarkets or small grocery
outlets.  Another example was bankcard drafts, especially before
California outlawed the collection of driver license numbers by the
merchant who usually also added the fone number as well.

There is no law, only the implied behavior of business ethics, that will
provide protection to Ms.  Hirsch.  The big problem with data puddles
which are rapidly becoming major lakes if not inland seas, is that people
handling such information are not trained in or accustomed to protecting
sensitive material.  They are apt to be careless, but then so are banks
which have been known to throw away unwanted copies of sensitive paper in
the dumpster in the alley.

Neither is there any legal protection for it; hence, any enforcement
official can come along and subpoena it or even acquire it
surreptitiously.  PIs and attorneys likewise have easy pickings.

The social problem of protecting people against consequences of mis-
handling all such data collections has stymied me for years, especially in
a reactive democratic society and government.  An attractive possibility
would be to bring privacy infractions in under tort law but then one has
to show, and perhaps prove, harm or damages.  All one can do, at the
moment, is accept such things as a risk of living on this planet and try
to minimize the amount of information that gets revealed.

The present situation is worrisome enough, but try applying for a home
loan.  Most places want, in addition to all else, complete copies of last
two years' Federal and State tax returns complete with all enclosures.
There are known instances of there being a secondary market in "used and
filled-out 1040 forms".

					   Willis Ware

------------------------------

Date:    Fri, 17 Jul 92 23:01 PDT
From:    lauren@cv.vortex.com (Moderator--Lauren Weinstein)
Subject: Topic Suggestion: Personal Experiences

Greetings.  One manner in which I hope this digest will be of value is to
help relate the more "theoretical" and "academic" aspects of privacy to the
sorts of events that actually occur in people's lives.  To this end, I
invite those of you who feel comfortable doing so to relate any experiences
which you have undergone that relate to the overall topic area of privacy.

Perhaps you've had problems with inaccurate information in a database, been
the victim of credit fraud, or otherwise lived through events the telling of
which might be illuminating to the readership.  Of particular interest is
what steps you took to deal with the situation, or how you believe your
experiences relate to overall privacy topics.

Remember, it's the aspects of privacy in our technological age affecting
*you*, and of interest to *you*, that are an extremely important part of the
PRIVACY Forum.

--Lauren--

------------------------------

End of PRIVACY Forum Digest 01.08
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