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Privacy

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


  • Hey, Get Out of My Face(book)Social Media, Privacy

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    Over the past few months there’s been a growing hue and cry over reports that some employers ask job applicants for their Facebook login and password information as part of the vetting process. They are hardly alone, though it’s not easy to know just who’s doing it and who’s not.  But this is not new–some state and local government agencies, particularly law enforcement agencies, have been doing it for years. To wit, the job application […]

  • Google’s New Privacy Policy: Close But No CigarData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    Last week was a pretty good one for the notion of privacy in America, which has increasingly become forlorn and tattered as a result of the advancement of digital technology. First, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones that warrantless GPS tracking of a criminal suspect by the FBI was unconstitutional, and then later in the week Google announced its new privacy policy, a model of simplicity and fairness with one sizeable flaw. […]

  • The Next Osama Bin Laden Already Has Your Social Security NumberData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    A massive cyber attack on American infrastructure is the 21st-century equivalent of the neutron bomb. All buildings remain standing but systems inside them are rendered useless. Human beings aren’t killed on a large scale, but few, if any, are left standing either. And while this sounds pretty dire, it’s quite likely some segment of this nation will at some time be shut down by cyber terrorists. Late last month Janet Napolitano, Obama’s homeland security chief, […]

  • If You’re Worried About Medical Privacy, Better Take Some XanaxBlog, Privacy

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    It was announced recently that nearly 5,000,000 patient records of military personnel were stolen. There was no elaborate hacking, and no technical skill was required on the part of the thieves — some tapes containing these records were stolen from a car belonging to an employee of SAIC who was prosaically transporting them between federal facilities in San Antonio Texas. The data included not only sensitive medical information, including prescription records, but also the names, […]

  • The Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Breach: Losing Client Data the Old Fashioned WayData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    A few days ago, a friend of mine received several letters dated June 24, 2011 from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where he has kept brokerage accounts for himself and his children for many years. It began with the now familiar, “we care about you” phrase: “At Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, client satisfaction and information security are critical priorities.” Then it segues into the sickeningly familiar, “but perhaps not enough” phrase: “We are writing to inform […]

  • Daddy, Make the Bad Man Go AwayGovernment, Consumer Protection, Blog, Personal Finance, Privacy

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    So, it’s 10:15 PM and your eight-year-old just woke up with a nightmare. While you’re tending to him, the phone rings and of course your 13-year-old daughter gets to it first. A minute or two later she bursts into her brother’s room crying, and blurts out to the two of you that the nasty man on the phone just told her that mommy and daddy would go to jail if they didn’t pay their old […]

  • Herding Cats: Regulating Online TrackingData Security, Blog, Privacy, Technology

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    There was a time, when the World Wide Web was young, that many entrepreneurs counted on the idea they could make money the old-fashioned way–by charging cyber-customers on a per-use basis, the same way they charged traditional brick-and-mortar patrons. Most print magazines, for example, felt they could make a seamless transition from paid print subscriptions to paid Internet subscriptions. Newspapers believed that some of their traditional departments, such as classifieds, would become huge profit centers […]

  • The Michaels & Fox Data Breaches: Coincidence or Cohesion?Data Security, Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft, Technology

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    Well, two fascinating—and repellant—things happened in the last few days, which but for the broadest possible subject matter connection, would seem to be unrelated. On May 6, a group calling itself LulzSec hacked Fox Entertainment network computers and released personal information about people from the database of potential contestants for the popular Fox show “X Factor.” Five days later, the same group announced in quite caustic terms that it also had hacked Fox.com computers to […]

  • When You’re the Apple of Their EyeData Security, Blog, Privacy, Technology

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    The World Wide Web seems to be making the world less wide. Everyone is connected to everyone and everything else, and that is changing the way many things are done, particularly advertising and marketing. The past decade or so has seen a radical evolution in the way marketers define and reach their target markets. Gone are the days when the Sunday insert sufficed for advertisers looking to pinpoint potential customers. These days, advertisers want to […]

  • FTC “Do Not Track” Proposal: Q&A With A Privacy AdvocateBlog, Privacy

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    Earlier this month the Federal Trade Commission formally announced a new world order that would provide more privacy options for Internet users. The cornerstone of that proposal is a universal “Do Not Track” mechanism that would allow web consumers to block access to online marketers. The proposal is viewed by privacy groups as similar to the FTC’s 2004’s “Do Not Call” registry, which gave consumers the option to block unwanted telemarketing calls to their homes. […]

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