Aug 04, 2000

Privacy Plan Likely to Kick Off Debate
Surveillance and Privacy from Government8/4/2000; 10:26:00 AM 'he goal of the plan announced by President Clinton's chief of staff, John Podesta, sounded admirable: to overhaul the nation's privacy laws, harmonizing a patchwork of inconsistent rules and extending to e-mail and mobile phone messages the same strict safeguards against government snooping that now apply to telephone calls.' ...'In arguing that all e-mails should be given the same enhanced protections as telephone calls, Podesta in effect declared that the telephone wiretap law should be the privacy baseline.'By saying that, however, he also signaled his intention to greatly lower the standard that may be protecting a relatively small but fast-growing class of e-mails and other electronic communications: messages created by users of cable-based Internet services. 'That's because the laws governing the cable television industry, the Cable Act of 1984 and the related sections of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 have privacy protections for cable subscribers that make the telephone wiretap laws seem positively pallid. '

Aug 04, 2000

Registrar Sues for Whois Spam
Privacy from Companies8/4/2000; 8:29:58 AM 'In a dispute that could test the legal limits for how of personal information stored on publicly available websites is used, a domain name registrar has filed suit against a firm it claims illegally used its customer contact information in an aggressive marketing campaign of unsolicited email and phone calls.', a New York company that registers Internet domain names, filed suit this week against Verio Inc., a Colorado website developer and hosting firm, charging that the company engaged in "unauthorized commercial use of's Whois database."'This registration information is public knowlege, I'm just surprised it took this long for a major suit to emerge over somebody misusing it.

Aug 03, 2000 Privacy Report Criticizes 'Infomediaries'
Privacy from Companies8/3/2000; 9:16:41 AM 'A new report released by Internet security firm Interhack, based in Columbus, Ohio, warns that the practice of outsourcing data collection on the activities of Web site visitors creates significant potential for privacy breaches. 'The report takes several e-commerce Web sites to task, as well as Coremetrics, the firm that collects and analyzes their customer information. But concern about outsourced data collection is applicable to any company that serves as an "infomediary" between the customer and the Web site.'Links The Standard Didn't Think You'd Need:

In particular, the response contains important clarifications of what Interhack was trying to say. In light of the response, I have to agree with the point Interhack was trying to make: Only our trust in CoreMetrics prevents them from perform exquisitely detailed tracking... and many people are forced to so trust them against their knowlege.

Aug 03, 2000

Reform Voting Evokes E-Votes
Political Speech
8/3/2000; 8:47:53 AM '[Reform] Party officials say that the contest between Patrick Buchanan and John Hagelin for the Reform Party presidential nomination will be settled through a unique "mixed-media" election, giving voters the option of voting either through a mail-in paper ballot or on the Web over a three-day period prior to the party's Aug. 10-13 national convention.'

'The entire voting process -- electronic and postal -- is being handled by eBallot, a relatively new entrant into the raucous electronic voting industry, in which upstart companies are tripping over each other to get valuable commissions from national organizations.'

Aug 02, 2000

EBay Accused of Monopolization
Content Integrity8/2/2000; 2:11:02 PM 'The judge in the eBay v. Bidder's Edge case has refused to throw out antitrust allegations leveled by the auction listing re-aggregator against auction giant eBay. 'Bidder's Edge contends that eBay behaved anticompetitively and that therefore the company is guilty of monopolization or at least attempted monopolization.'Mmmmmm... "anticompetitively" because eBay won't let Bidder's Edge use a substantial portion of eBay's bandwidth for reasons that eBay will find possibly economically damaging? I'm having a hard time with this "we have the right to access eBay's data and do whatever we want with it, and if they don't let us, it's anticompetitive" argument coming from Bidder's Edge. Flip it around... why is eBay obligated to let Bidder's Edge in?

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