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Privacy

News and articles relating to consumer privacy by Adam K Levin.


  • Is Your State Selling Your Medical History For Pennies?Privacy

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    Unfortunately, the answer to the question in the headline is probably yes. More than half the states release some identifying information about your health records, making it more likely that your privacy can be exploited, according to a report that Bloomberg News ran a few weeks back. I’ll explain what’s going on in detail in a minute, even though I’m deeply embarrassed as a citizen that I even have to. When I first read the […]

  • 5 Places Where You Should Never Give Your Social Security NumberBlog, Privacy, Identity Theft

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    Every time you go to a new doctor or dentist and they give you a clipboard brimming with documents to fill out and sign, notice how they always ask for your Social Security number? Do you dutifully give it up? Did you ever wonder if they really need it? I once asked a doctor why he wanted it. His response: “I don’t really know. I guess it’s because we’ve always asked for it.” (In actuality, […]

  • The 10 Dumbest Risks You Can Take With a SmartphoneBlog, Privacy, Technology

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    If you think of your smartphone as just a phone, rather than a very powerful mini-computer that happens to make phone calls, you may be cruising for a world of pain. That’s because the amount of sensitive data many of us store on our phones is truly staggering. A smartphone provides us direct access to our savings and checking accounts. It may store our passwords to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even our email accounts. The phone […]

  • When Your Identity Is Tossed Out the Window… LiterallyData Security, Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft

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    The scene of the crime is the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year was spectacular — great entertainment with many new balloons and floats. Fall was in the air and so, too, was the confetti. This year, however, some of it was comprised of shredded confidential documents, floating to the ground, courtesy of the Nassau County Police Department. You see, the confetti strips dumped on the parade route at 65th Street and Central Park […]

  • 94 Million Exposed: The Government’s Epic Fail on PrivacyGovernment, Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft

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    When you hear a number like “94 million” in the news, it’s usually because somebody won the lottery. This time around, no such luck. This 94 million is the number of Americans’ files in which personal information has been exposed, since 2009, to potential identity theft through data breaches at government agencies. Go ahead, count the zeroes: 94,000,000. That’s like releasing the personal data of every man, woman and child in California, Texas, New York, […]

  • The Great iPhone ID Caper: What Really Happened?Blog, Privacy, Technology

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    If you’re someone who cares about your privacy, these are indeed strange times. When everything from your iPhone to your iPad (and every derivation in between) is secretly tracking your every move from behind its colorful screen, when advertisers gather enough information about you to know you’re pregnant even before your parents do, it’s clear that we are living in a twilight zone. What we think we know about staying safe, and what we actually […]

  • For Ransom: Your Medical RecordsData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    It started out as a data breach like many others. The hackers penetrated the computer network of a small medical practice in a wealthy suburb of northern Illinois, The Surgeons of Lake County, and broke into a server containing email and electronic medical records. But instead of sneaking out undetected and selling the stolen data on the black market, they took a novel tack — encrypting the data and posting a message demanding a ransom […]

  • The Profound Failure of Congress on Cybersecurity (and Why You Should Care)Data Security, Government, Blog, Privacy, Technology

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    On August 2, Congress did it again. They acknowledged the looming threat of cyberwarfare while discussing the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, and then they “kicked the can down the road.” It’s what they do best. The “Party of No” hurt us all on a critically necessary piece of cyber-security legislation, and continued the U.S. Senate’s proud tradition of failing to do anything to deal with our absolute vulnerability to an attack by state-sponsored hackers and […]

  • Did Facebook’s Privacy Problems Foretell the IPO?Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft, Technology

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    For anyone who plays the stock market — and I confess I do from time to time — the drama that unfolded over the past couple of weeks surrounding the Facebook IPO reminded me of the “give them bread and circuses philosophy” of the Roman Empire, except this time the Empire kept the bread. The whole thing is so, well… Facebook. We should have seen it coming. Facebook’s approach to its IPO was consistent with […]

  • The New American Pie: Breached, Tracked and Strip SearchedData Security, Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft, Technology

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    For those of us who care about privacy, these past seven days have truly sucked. With relatively little fanfare in the midst of a cacophonous (that means “noisy,” Senator Santorum) parade of news, three significant events seriously undermined our constitutional right to privacy and highlighted (in a muted sort of way) the extent to which new business practices and perhaps the second oldest human inclination (criminality) have continued the relentless assault on our individual rights […]

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