[EAS] Outsourcing Privacy

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri Oct 22 20:50:28 EDT 2004

Subject:   Outsourcing Privacy

WHAT'S NEW  Robert L. Park   Friday, 22 Oct 04  Washington, DC
(Archives of What's New can be found at <http://www.aps.org/WN>)

Remember the Pentagon program to create a data base of personal
information?  It would record our movements, purchases, who we
talk to, what we read.  It was the nightmare of the computer age
<http://www.aps.org/WN/WN02/wn122002.cfm>.  It still is.  Killed
by Congress <http://www.aps.org/WN/WN03/wn012403.cfm>, or so we
thought, but it was too bad an idea to be allowed to die.  It was
privatized and moved offshore, out of reach of U.S. regulators.   
Bahamas-based Global Information Group Ltd. offers such products
as the "Terrorist Risk Identity Assessment."  But is it accurate?
Hey, war is not pretty; there are always civilian casualties. 

A quick look with Google points to other articles on these ever
inventive efforts to keep us safe, e.g.

Heck, until recently convicted felons were used to compile profiles
of consumer data. E.g. see <http://www.epic.org/privacy/profiling/>
regarding Beverly Dennis, et al. v. Metromail, et al., No. 96-04451,
Travis County, Texas. Just to give you an idea about the amount of
available personal information, Metromail had twenty-five pages of
personal data on Beverly Dennis, including her income, and
information on when she had used hemorrhoid medicine. Inventiveness
in pursuit of profit is boundless.  --PJK

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