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TUCoPS :: Phreaking General Information :: dumpster.txt

Get data by being a dumpster diver

                'Dumpster Divers' have access to data
              By Mitch Betts, ComputerWorld Staff Writer
                      ComputerWorld May 23, 1988
Washington D.C. - A ruling by the U.S Supreme Court last week underscored
the need for MIS managers to have an information security policy that extends
all the way to the corporate trash Dumpster.
  The high court's ruling in 'California v. Greenwood' rejected claims that
Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy involving their garbage.
Consequently, "anything put into the trash becomes fair game" for computer
hackers or corporate spies, according to Robert P. Campbell, president of
Advanced Information Management, Inc., a Woodbridge, Va.-based computer
security consulting firm.
  Campbell said the so-called "Dumpster divers" look for competitive 
intelligence, private information on employees, system documentation, logic
designs, flowcharts, passwords and even poorly disguised production data
used for test purposes.
  "A well-designed information security policy makes sure that sensitive
data does not end up in the trash," he said, suggesting that computer
companies consider paper shredders or compactors and the destruction of 
magnetic media.
  The specific case before the Supreme Court involved a police search of the
trash of two suspected drug dealers. Writing the court's majority opinion,
Justice Byron R. White said a search warrant was unnecessary because it was
"common knowledge that plastic garbage bags left on or at the side of a
public street are readily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoops
and other members of the public."
  In the 6-to-2 court decision, the dissenters suggested that picking through
another's trash is revolting and uncivilized behavior.
  Consultant Campbell said the ruling may be a boon for the growing
"information underground" in personal credit and character information.
  In addition, he contended that there is a high street value for private
information that helps financial institutions determine a person's credit
worthiness or helps employers gauge the character of job applicants.


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