In the past, we worried less about privacy.
The issue was there, but abuse was small. And we don't tend to be concerned about theoretical threats. We only care about problems when they become real and touch our lives.
Before the information explosion, we relied on cost as the primary protection of privacy: it was too expensive for anyone (except maybe the government) to assemble, store, cross-index and correlate the information.
Today, the information explosion has driven down costs.
The original MS-DOS operating system could only handle data storage up to 32 MB. No one could imagine needing more. In August 2000, Maxstor introduced their new PC disk drive storing 80 gigabytes and selling for $350.00 (or less!). In February 2004, I checked local retail prices and found an external, 250 gigabyte hard drive for $380.00. In May 2005, a comparable 250 GB drive was $330 (a 15% increase in disk per dollar in 15 months).
Today your buying profile can be captured from that discount card you use at the grocery store. Is that a problem? The next time you apply for a job or for insurance, would you want all the information about all the over-the-counter drugs purchase to be available for review?
Today, Megan's Law calls for the disclosure to neighbors when a convicted sex offender moves into a neighborhood. How would you feel about disclosure to neighbors of all legal history whenever anyone moves in?
Or consider this:
The information age has given us the ability to threaten privacy in everyday commerce.
These pages will not provide answers. But I hope they can help define the questions.
Related Pages on My Site
Boycott Delta: Delta Airlines is participating in the CAPPS II system. This system will gather private information about air travelers and make decisions about whether they can travel, without reasonable controls and without the opportunity for individuals to correct misinformation. This page on my website serves as my "gateway" to the BoycottDelta.com site. ««»»
Personal Privacy in an Information Society: In 1977 the Privacy Protection Study Commission (PPSC) (chartered by the Privacy Act of 1974) issued its report: Personal Privacy in an Information Society. ««»»
Protection Study Commission (PPSC) Fair Information Practices:
This page presents a summary of the Fair Information Practices outlined in that
Related Pages on the Web
electronic Frontier Foundation: Defining Digital Identify: This is the "entrance" page for the EFF section on digital privacy. (www.eff.org/privacy.html)
FTC: Privacy Online: Fair Information Practices in the electronic Marketplace: A Report to Congress (May 2000): PDF text of the May 2000 report to congress. In this report, the FTC changed from advocating only self regulation to advocating legislation. ( www.ftc.gov/reports/privacy2000/privacy2000.pdf )
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Originally created by the California Public Utilities Commission, PRC is now a part of the Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN). The organization provides information on protecting privacy. It also has the Identity Theft Resource Center. (www.privacyrights.org/)
Smart Business (Dec.1999) , "You Are Being Watched": Today 40 million American workers are under surveillance at the office. Women make up 85 percent of that number, as they tend to occupy customer-service and data-entry positions, which are more commonly scrutinized. A recent survey by the American Management Association revealed that 40 percent of all major U.S. firms engage in some form of electronic monitoring of their employees, ranging from keystroke counting to phone and email monitoring to full-scale hidden camera surveillance. ( www.zdnet.com/pccomp/stories/all/0,6605,2386411,00.html )
Wired (16.Aug.1999) , "Levi's Brave New World": This Levi's store represents the first large-scale voluntary collection of biometric marketing data in the country, if not the world. ( www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,21268,00.html )
Center for Media education: COPPA, The First Year, A Survey of Sites: A PDF report from April 2001 surveying COPPA compliance. Has useful examples and a discussion of practices that may actually encourage children to cheat. ««»»
CNeT News.com (29.Mar.2000) , "Many Web sites will pay high price for children's data": High prices to comply; large fines if you don't. ««»»
CNN.com (25.Apr.2000) , "Online child privacy act proves problematic for sites": Some of the problems of compliance. ««»»
CNeT News.com (27.Apr.2000) , "Child privacy law locks out some Hotmail members": The impact on Hotmail users. ««»»
electronic Privacy Information Center (ePIC) COPPA Page: A good overview page that also provides current information on alleged violations. ««»»
Federal Trade Commission: Final Rule on COPPA: A PDF file discusses the comments received, the rationale for the final rule and presents the final rule. If you are a webmaster, you should read these ninety (90!) pages of text. ««»»
Federal Trade Commission: Final Rule on COPPA (Federal Register Images): A PDF file discusses the comments received, the rationale for the final rule and presents the final rule. This is exactly like the other PDF file immediately prior, except that this one presents images of the Federal Register and so the text is smaller and harder to read (and is only 29 pages). ««»»
GigaLaw.com (Jun.2000) , "Living with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act": A primer on COPPA. ««»»
GigaLaw.com (Oct.2000) , "How the FTC is enforcing the Children's Privacy Act": A progress report. ««»»
How to Comply With The Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule: An FTC publication. A useful summary, but not a substitute for reading the complete rule and the explanation. ««»»
KidsPrivacy.org: A project of the Center for Media education (CMe). The site offers general information on COPPA. ««»» NB: on 10.Apr.2003 this site appears to be unavailable. However, it is still listed on the CMe site. I've written for clarification. On 24.Dec.2003, the site is gone, the domain name has been snapped up by a domain name reseller and the CMe site is also gone.
Law.com (23.Jun.2000) , "FTC's Reversal on Internet Privacy -- And What It Means": Discusses the policy change at the FTC from preferring self regulation to recommending Congress enact privacy laws. ««»» (requires subscription; free trial available; see below)
Law.com (29.Oct.1999) , "Minefields Hopscotch: Introduction To Web Site Privacy Law": Provides an overview of privacy law on the net. ««»» (requires subscription; free trial available; see below)
SF Gate (21.Apr.2000) , "Youth Privacy Net Law Takes effect, Many Web Site Operators Worry They'll Lose Money On Children's Market": Why some sites are abandoning the children's market. ««»»
Most of the Law.com links shown require a subscription. (Note that at least one does not require a subscription and is free.) However, Law.com offers a free 30-day trial subscription and the option to bill. Using this option web visitors can, on a one time basis, access the site to see these articles, as well as search for other articles and read new articles for 30 days without charge.
S 2938, Consumer Internet Privacy enhancement Act: This page, on the Thomas site of the Library of Congress, provides the text of the act, as well as a link to the Government Printing Office's PDF version of the bill and the status of the bill. ««»»
FTC: Privacy Online: Fair Information Practices in the electronic Marketplace: A Report to Congress (May 2000): PDF text of the May 2000 report to congress. In this report, the FTC changed from advocating only self regulation to advocating legislation. ««»»
This page created: