Permalink
Oct 10, 2000

Center for Democracy and Tech: Bills Before Congress 106
Misc.
10/10/2000; 1:23:18 PM Update: Hey, the links actually work now! (Sorry, I was using the new WYSIWIG entry controls and they fooled me into thinking the stuff was linked.)

Bills before the 106th Congress, broken out by type:


Permalink
Oct 10, 2000

It Doesn’t Take Much To Make You Stand Out
Privacy from Companies
10/10/2000; 10:33:33 AM

'“EIGHTY-SEVEN PERCENT of the population of the U.S. can be uniquely identified [only] by their date of birth, gender and five-digit ZIP code,” says Latanya Sweeney, assistant professor of computer science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Web sites often ask for such seemingly innocuous information and people provide it, thinking that they will remain unknown.'

Curmudgeon, are you watching this site? Using the keys of gender (2), date of birth (with in the last hundred years) (36,525), and zip codes (100,000), I get a total number of unique keys of 7,305,000,000, which is well in excess of the population of the United States. And I suppose this makes sense; zip codes are only allowed to be so large and even city hospitals might not see more then 10 or 20 births, which could be distributed around several zip codes.

If this is true, chalk it up to another Unintuitive Result Of Statistics.


Permalink
Oct 10, 2000

F.B.I. Calls For Cyber Ethics Education
Misc.
10/10/2000; 10:25:20 AM

'FBI agents are spreading a new gospel to parents and teachers, hoping they'll better educate youths that vandalism in cyberspace can be economically costly and just as criminal as mailbox bashing and graffiti spraying.

'The Justice Department and the Information Technology Association of America, a trade group, has launched the Cybercitizen Partnership to encourage educators and parents to talk to children in ways that equate computer crimes with old-fashioned wrongdoing.'

Hey, great! And you should listen to the FBI, because... ummm... no, trustworthy doesn't work.... setting good example (Carnivore)... nope... ummm, well give me some time here....

Seriously, though, there is some merit to this plan. When I was in elementary and middle school, I did a lot of pirating of software on my Commodore 64. I never really realized what that meant. (I can guarentee you that there was not much in the way of lost revenue there... I'd never have bought anything ) I think there is room for educating children.

But there is not much merit. We haven't got a cyber ethics code for adults yet! The article in the New York Times mentions "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's MP3's" as a law... well, that's not a statement of cyber ethics yet, that's a biased presumption of how a certain court case will come out... and laws and court cases still doesn't determine "ethics". (I know the FBI might like to teach our children that law begets ethics, but that's a truly dangerous idea that I wouldn't want taught to my children.)

The simple fact is, we don't know whether Napster is ethical or unethical (or as I believe, "it depends"), we don't know what constitutes vandalism (sure, there are some obvious cases, but would posting a nasty message on my Discussion area constitute "vandalism" or merely impolite behavior?), and we don't even know some things that seem obvious, like what "shutting down a web site" is (Was Bidder's Edge "shutting down" eBay, or just trying to benefit their customers, when they were crawling eBay? Were web crawlers behaving unethically when they were pounding on EditThisPage.com, or merely having technical issues?).

We should not hurry right now to teach our children "cyber ethics"... let's teach them ethics so they'll be ready to behave responsibly in the "cyber world", where the details may be immensely more complex but the principles of fair play are still there. Meanwhile, us so-called "mature" people should probably get our act together and figure out what ethics mean on the Internet. (I'm trying, are you?)


Permalink
Oct 10, 2000

Ransom: Customer Data
Privacy from Companies
10/10/2000; 9:57:37 AM

'Jules Neuringer never intended to become a martyr. But that was before Motorola tried to co-opt his customers. Now, the man who spent 30 years minding his own business selling two-way radios in Brooklyn, N.Y., finds himself the unofficial spokesman for a small but growing band of independent dealers in a catch-22 nightmare they say was crafted by one of the communications industry's biggest players.

'The catch: Independent dealers are being told they must turn over their proprietary customer data - the lifeblood of their business - or lose the right to sell Motorola's popular two-way radios. But if they give up that valuable information about the customers they have spent years cultivating, there's nothing to prevent the Schaumburg, Ill., manufacturer from using the Internet to cut the dealers out of the loop.'

From Privacy Digest, two links: Motorola's response in a letter to the editor of RCR Wireless news, and An end user of the radios writes a 'letter to the editor'.


Permalink
Oct 10, 2000

Cybervandal 'Edits' Orange County Register's Web Site
Content Integrity
10/10/2000; 9:56:39 AM

'Visitors to the Orange County Register's Web site were rewarded with an incredible scoop Sept. 29. Bill Gates, the geek who coded Microsoft (MSFT) from the ground up and became a multibillionaire in the process, had been arrested for hacking into "hundreds, maybe thousands" of computers, including those of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., and Stanford University....

'Before this results in a flurry of rumor-mongering e-mail forwards, let us point out that none of the above revelations are true. The Register's Web site, it turns out, had been attacked by a cybervandal, and three of its news stories were "edited." While other news organizations such as ABC.com, the Associated Press, George magazine, the Drudge Report and the New York Times (NYT) have suffered Web defacements, the Register breach is the first known instance of a "subversion of information attack" at a media Web site.'


<- Future Posts Past Posts ->

 

Site Links

 

RSS
All Posts

 

Blogroll