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Cube Jockey
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PLEASE STOP REQUESTING THAT WE REMOVE YOU FROM SOME OTHER COMPANY'S DATABASE!!



I read this article in the SF Chronicle a few weeks ago and meant to start a topic on AD about it but forgot.

The article is a writeup on a new search tool on the web called Zabasearch.com. You'll recognize the google-like simplicity of the web page, but instead of searching for news you can search for people.

Go ahead, try it. Put in anyone you want - yourself, your ex-girlfriend, even celebrities, use the state drop down for better results. What it brings back is interesting. With one click you can get someone's date of birth, address and their phone number if listed. You can even click the address to get a sattellite photo of their home.

For the low price of $20 (less if you do this in bulk) you can get the following information on someone:
QUOTE
Report Instantly Displayed. Additional Information Includes: 20 Year Address History - Current Telephone Numbers - Bankruptcies - Legal Judgments - Current/Previous Home & Property Ownership - Current/Previous Addresses - Names and Addresses of Relatives - Current and Previous Roommates and Neighbors - Liens etc.


Now this kind of thing certainly isn't new, they are pulling this information from all over the web. What is new in my opinion is the ease by which it can be accessed.

There is also this from the article:
QUOTE
ZabaSearch says people can have their info removed from the company's database by e-mailing their name, birth date, address and phone number to info@zabasearch.com.

However, the company also says in its terms and conditions that it "does not guarantee that the information will not be available again in the future from other sources or ZabaSearch itself," thus making the opt-out process virtually meaningless.


So in other words, even if you wanted to opt out of this you can't.

Questions for debate:
1. Is this a cool use of technology, a scary invasion of privacy or some of both? Why or why not?

2. Should people be able to purchase some of this information listed such as credit reports, legal judgements, home ownership, etc or should this remain private and available only to government agencies?

3. Should you be able to opt out of this kind of thing if you don't want your information available with a few clicks?

4. We talk a lot about our right to privacy, but this tool shows just how little privacy we actually have. Is this tool overstepping our 4th amendment protections? If not, should our government be addressing this?
Google
Sleeper
It seems to be a site just doing the leg work for people. All the information being provided is already out there.

As much as you may not like it, information like legal judgements and home ownership are public domain. With a name you can go down to the courthouse and access this information without a hitch. So as far as complaining about this site providing that kind of information, there is really no leg to stand on.

You cannot opt out of legal domain..
Jaime
How would you defend them posting unlisted phone numbers, Sleeper? Some of us pay extra money to the phone company to ensure our phone numbers remain private and this company goes ahead and publishes unlisted numbers.

Having been on the receiving end of death threats and other more mild threats due to owning this website, it really scares me that my information is so easily available. Particularly when I have taken steps to try and preserve my privacy (such as paying for a private phone number and P.O. Box). This company trumps my efforts with a few keyboard strokes.

Unfortunately, if we try to shut these people down, I foresee a whack-a-mole scenario where other companies pop up as soon as one is taken down.

Having an opt-out sounds like a decent idea, but I wouldn't want it set up at the expense of the American taxpayers. I would prefer a compromise to this situation wherein databrokers must inform people when they sell their information. This way, if someone wanted to purchase my personal information from Zabasearch or a similar company, then the databroker must send me a notice indicating who made the request and the personal information of the person making the request. It's got to be a two way street. The costs of this notice will be incurred by databroker, and likely passed off onto the person making the request.

I'd further like to see our Constitution amended to guarantee our right to privacy but I know that's just me being utopic. flowers.gif
Sleeper
Actually my number is unlisted and does not show on their site so I did not address that. I agree with you that information such as non-published numbers should not show. But the other information they provide is legal, public domain.
Christopher
1. Is this a cool use of technology, a scary invasion of privacy or some of both? Why or why not?

2. Should people be able to purchase some of this information listed such as credit reports, legal judgements, home ownership, etc or should this remain private and available only to government agencies?

3. Should you be able to opt out of this kind of thing if you don't want your information available with a few clicks?

4. We talk a lot about our right to privacy, but this tool shows just how little privacy we actually have. Is this tool overstepping our 4th amendment protections? If not, should our government be addressing this?


This is nothing compared to companies like Lexus Nexus that have info on everything you do. what you buy--have bought, medical, etc.............
While Sleeper is correct that most of this is public domain stuff Like Jaime I firmly believe and support a Right to Privacy. Yet like Jaime I know that in this world far too many people think the state has the right to sell me to corporations. hail the State us.gif
Somehow limited government and individual rights are open to the market without an individual even getting the option to demand compensation for its sale and/or use. hail the State us.gif

I have always been very sadly surprised just how many people don't support a legally defined and protected Right to Privacy, and seemed completely oblivious to even the thought of not being in the end the plaything of government and society. kind of goes along with those who think the government gives you your Rights and can take them whenever they want--for national security, or cause god said so. hail the State us.gif
Personally I consider the whole thing theft . Regardless of whether the information is out there for anyone to gather I believe it should be illegal to gather and collect it without the clear explicit approval of the individual citizen. If the citizen decides they do not mind the info being used they may enter into a contract for the lease of or the outright sale of their personal identity package. But i guess that wouldn't be fair to big business ohmy.gif

But again most people cannot conceive of being an independent entity but are subject to the whim and will of society.hail the State us.gif Even if they could there are 2 political parties here in the states willing to sell them downriver for a few pennies. hail the State us.gif The whole Terry Shiavo case proves clearly that certain elements of our society will do anything to allow the state to take away any personal freedom and there are even some court nominees who don't even think that the Bill of Rights should even be respected by the States. hail the State us.gif

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I would agree that it violates the 4th--plus any actual support of Liberty. Although there will always be lawyers who will naysay that you have any actual right to your own person. Hail the State us.gif

I think the trend of my opinion on this subject and the Rights of Individuals to PRIVACY and a recognized and inalienable protection of those RIGHTS from the State-- Hail the State us.gif -- and corporate interests is fairly clear. wink.gif

[Edited to remove comments about Violating persons who think I am for Sale] whistling.gif
overlandsailor
Many topics such as this have come and gone. For the record, I used to work as a Private Investigator, doing Insurance fraud work primarily. As a result I believe I have a very good understanding of what is private information, and what isn't, at least in the eyes of the law. Information like what is available on the website in question has always been available. Years ago, I was signed up with several serves, including my state's (at the time) DMV where I could pay to access all of this information via dial up computer BBS systems (this was back when 9600 baud was still considered to be fast, just to give you a rough idea of the time frame).

QUOTE
1. Is this a cool use of technology, a scary invasion of privacy or some of both? Why or why not?


It is not an invasion of privacy because as best as I can tell they are not making anything available that is not already consider pubic domain, either because of the nature of the information, or because the individual put it in the public domain themselves.

For example: You have an unlisted phone number. You decide to buy something online, in doing so you have to enter your phone number. Some places on the net that sell products make no claims that they will not share your contact information. If you choose to buy from someone with out such guarantees and you give them your phone number you are effectively putting your unlisted phone number in the public domain.

One of the biggest areas people make this mistake is with Magazine Subscriptions. Most, if not all of the major information services available have specific "Subscription Database" searches.

However, if you have an unlisted phone number and you do NOT give it out to anyone then you are likely no where to be found in around 80% of the databases out there.

It should be noted however, that as more and more people learn just how much information about them is out there and voice concerns about it, more and more companies offer the ability to opt out of information sharing when you do business with them. It's just good business to take peoples concerns about things like this into account.

QUOTE
2. Should people be able to purchase some of this information listed such as credit reports, legal judgements, home ownership, etc or should this remain private and available only to government agencies?


You cannot purchase Credit Reports. They are illegal without a waiver from the person you want to review. You can however run a Credit Report "Header" search, for a fee, that will provide whatever address and employment history is in your credit report.

Legal Judgements, Home Ownership, Criminal Record, Driving Record, and the like have always been public information and have always been available to the public on anyone (outside of specifically sealed court cases, which are rare). It is just easier to get now because you can use the computer rather then drive down to the court house.

QUOTE
3. Should you be able to opt out of this kind of thing if you don't want your information available with a few clicks?


That's an interesting question. I don't think we should force the company to allow for this. After all, the information they are making available was available before they came around, they are just the latest source to make it easy to get. But it might be good for the PR if the company did this on there own.

QUOTE
4. We talk a lot about our right to privacy, but this tool shows just how little privacy we actually have. Is this tool overstepping our 4th amendment protections? If not, should our government be addressing this?


This tool does nothing outside of the law. This information was publicly available before they came on the scene. The right to Privacy has, for the most part, always been a myth. Outside of Medical History, Credit History, and Juvenile Offenses we all of our information has been considered public domain.


edited to add:

QUOTE
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


This was written to protect the people from the Government. Private citizens and companies have always been able to collect information on people. They cannot illegally enter your home, hack your computer, etc. But they could always take what you make available, and catalog it. Furthermore, it was never considered a violation of the 4th amendment for your legal judgements, and criminal convictions to be available for the public.

Also, some interesting examples:

Is it illegal for someone to videotape you having relations with someone else in your own home? The correct answer is yes and no.

It is illegal for someone to enter private property to do so. However, if your activities can be seen from public property (say the sidewalk or the street you live on) and someone videotapes you while standing on that public property, no law has been violated and they are free to do whatever they want with that videotape (with the exception of violating pornography laws).

Is it illegal for someone to tape a phone conversation with you, without notifying you of this fact. The answer depends on where in live. In some states there is a "Two-Party Consent" law, meaning all parties in a conversation have to consent to being recorded. However, most states have a "One-Party Consent" law, meaning only one party in a conversation needs to consent to being taped, and that party can be the one doing the taping. So, in most states, yes it is legal for someone to take a conversation with you without notifying you or securing your consent.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Apr 25 2005, 03:52 PM)
This tool does nothing outside of the law.  This information was publicly available before they came on the scene.  The right to Privacy has, for the most part, always been a myth.  Outside of Medical History, Credit History, and Juvenile Offenses we all of our information has been considered public domain.
*


That wasn't really my point though OS, clearly this stuff isn't illegal to obtain and it has been accepted for years. The question I am primarily interested in discussing is should it be public domain?

Saying that it has been for years is in my opinion dodging the real question.

Let's say for example that you get that centrist policy site up and running that you have been talking about for a while, and most recently in one of the casual conversation threads. You take all the standard precautions when registering the domain, etc. But if you end up forming some kind of corporation (like Mike and Jaime have for AD) then now your name is public record - it has to be (unless you file in Nevada or a similar state). So let's say someone doesn't agree with your approach to centrist politics, starts looking up your information, getting in your business, making threats (although nothing significant enough to arouse the ire of the authorities) - would you still think it was ok?
overlandsailor
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Apr 25 2005, 06:02 PM)
Saying that it has been for years is in my opinion dodging the real question.


As to this question of SHOULD it be available, that depends on what you are asking about. Should property ownership be available? Yes, is someone is harmed on that property they should have the ability to find out who the owner is. Should legal judgements and criminal records (outside of Juvenile cases) be available? Absolutely, we should have a right to know if someone we are considering hiring, doing business with, or entering into a relationship with has a history of misdeeds. Should your phone number available? That is up to you. If you pay for an unlisted phone number and then strictly control who gets that number then it will not be. However, most people do not.

QUOTE
Let's say for example that you get that centrist policy site up and running that you have been talking about for a while, and most recently in one of the casual conversation threads.  You take all the standard precautions when registering the domain, etc.  But if you end up forming some kind of corporation (like Mike and Jaime have for AD) then now your name is public record - it has to be (unless you file in Nevada or a similar state).  So let's say someone doesn't agree with your approach to centrist politics, starts looking up your information, getting in your business, making threats (although nothing significant enough to arouse the ire of the authorities) - would you still think it was ok?
*



I would have a problem with it. However, I do not feel that limiting the access to this information would be a wise resolution. If, on that same website I chose to commit liable, fraud, etc, the person / people harmed should have the ability to access who is responsible for that site and take appropriate action, be it legal action, a boycott, or whatever else.

In this example I would have chosen to create that site, as well as chosen to start my own business, knowing that one could negatively effect the other at anytime.

As a side note, politics impacting business is as old, if not older then the country itself. When I was in Private Investigations I took a series of jobs from a local law firm that happened to be Republican (why all law firms seem to be strongly on political pursuasion or another (at least on the east coast) is beyond me). Once that was known, I could never even get a call back from a Democratic Law firm. This is not meant to disparage Democrats in anyway because has the situation happened in reverse it would be the Republican Law Firms choosing not to do business with me.

Interestingly, I actually did a small case for the Democratic party back then, investigating the ownership of a property that was purchased for an inflated price by the county official responsible of HUD. The property in question was an old hotel that was purchased for 5 times the average value of the same type of properties in the same area, even though it has such a severe sewage leakage problem that if the government that bought it would not have allowed a private citizen to buy it prior to the complete of repairs. My investigation revealed that the property was owned by a holding company. That holding company was privately owned. 100% ownership of that holding company belonged to the father-in-law of the same county official that choose to by the property.

The fact that this information was available allowed the public better over-site of their government in this case, even though the actual information accessed was that of a private citizen with no direct connection to government.

I would much rather have the ability to be well informed and take the chance that other's having this ability could cause me grief one day, then have to function completely in the dark.

Protecting this information, IMHO would allow for greater abuse of the public by unscrupulous individuals and politicians then this information being available is likely to cause individual citizens. hmmm.gif
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Apr 25 2005, 04:21 PM)
As to this question of SHOULD it be available, that depends on what you are asking about.  Should property ownership be available?  Yes, is someone is harmed on that property they should have the ability to find out who the owner is.
*


Why do private citizens need to have access to this information? Any resolution here is going to come from some kind of authority whether that is police, lawyers, or insurance companies. Why would you need access to this information? Furthermore, why would someone completely unrelated to the situation need this information?

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Should legal judgements and criminal records (outside of Juvenile cases) be available? Absolutely, we should have a right to know if someone we are considering hiring, doing business with, or entering into a relationship with has a history of misdeeds.

A business clearly has an interest in knowing this information, but that doesn't explain why anyone on the internet should have a right to it. No test is applied here to see if the need for the information is valid.

If I wanted to look up this info on some celebrity, say Teri Hatcher, even though I really have no business knowing it - I could for the low price of $20.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Should your phone number available? That is up to you. If you pay for an unlisted phone number and then strictly control who gets that number then it will not be. However, most people do not.

Agreed, it should be up to you, but what happens when your phone number is listed somewhere even when it is supposed to be unlisted as Jaime claimed in her post? Furthermore, in your post you described at least a few situations where your number could be published even if you requested it to be unlisted. How does that jive with your reasoning?

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
This was written to protect the people from the Government. Private citizens and companies have always been able to collect information on people. They cannot illegally enter your home, hack your computer, etc. But they could always take what you make available, and catalog it. Furthermore, it was never considered a violation of the 4th amendment for your legal judgements, and criminal convictions to be available for the public.

And I'm asking if that is the way it should be.
overlandsailor
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Apr 25 2005, 06:38 PM)
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Apr 25 2005, 04:21 PM)
As to this question of SHOULD it be available, that depends on what you are asking about.   Should property ownership be available?  Yes, is someone is harmed on that property they should have the ability to find out who the owner is.
*


Why do private citizens need to have access to this information? Any resolution here is going to come from some kind of authority whether that is police, lawyers, or insurance companies. Why would you need access to this information? Furthermore, why would someone completely unrelated to the situation need this information?


The way we both look at this is likely do to a fundamental difference in philosophy. I believe people should have the ability to address wrongs done to them on their own (without violence of course), without having to solicit government intervention or hire a lawyer. If I am correct, and in this instance you see it differently on this level then I doubt we could ever come to an agreement on this issue do to this more basic difference.

QUOTE
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Should legal judgements and criminal records (outside of Juvenile cases) be available? Absolutely, we should have a right to know if someone we are considering hiring, doing business with, or entering into a relationship with has a history of misdeeds.

A business clearly has an interest in knowing this information, but that doesn't explain why anyone on the internet should have a right to it. No test is applied here to see if the need for the information is valid.

If I wanted to look up this info on some celebrity, say Teri Hatcher, even though I really have no business knowing it - I could for the low price of $20.


Lets say you heard that Teri Hatcher was involved in a criminal act you find appalling. You, as a reasonable individual do not treat rumor as truth so you investigate it, knowing that such criminal CONVICTIONS are a matter of public record.

One possibility is that you discover the rumor is false, now you can out it.

The other is that you find the rumor to be true. Now, since the conduct is offensive to you, you can chose to act in a way you find appropriate, be it write a letter, boycott anything associated with Teri Hatcher, or merely go one with your life, just happy to know the real story.

Why should judgements against you or criminal convictions be private. These are acts you committed, part of the consequences for those actions is that the information about them is available and could make life difficult for you on occasion. That in itself should be something of a deterrent to wrong doing.

Consider Sexual Offender Notification Laws. The only reason this practice is acceptable, is because the criminal convictions are a matter of public record in the first place. If we were to make these records private, or at a minimum restricted, wouldn't we then have to stop warning parents about a sexual offender living on the block?

As a side note: I do think sexual offender notification laws should be addressed. As is stands now, it is possible for someone convicted of sexual crimes other then assault, rape or molestation to be classed as a sexual offender. An example would be someone who violated the law by changing on the beach, committing a lude act, could conceivably be labelled a sexual offender depending on the way the statute in that jurisdiction is written and the mindset of the prosecutor.

QUOTE
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Should your phone number available? That is up to you. If you pay for an unlisted phone number and then strictly control who gets that number then it will not be. However, most people do not.

Agreed, it should be up to you, but what happens when your phone number is listed somewhere even when it is supposed to be unlisted as Jaime claimed in her post? Furthermore, in your post you described at least a few situations where your number could be published even if you requested it to be unlisted. How does that jive with your reasoning?


When you purchase an unlisted number, you are purchasing the right not to have your number listed in the phone books. By doing so, you keep yourself out of a host of databases. However, if you then decide to provide that number to someone or some organization that does not specifically guarantee the privacy of your information then you will end up in other phone directories.

So, it is the actions of the person with the unlisted number that results in it being listed.

This is not always that persons fault. For example, your local electric company might not have a privacy policy and might sell it's customer information to "partners". In this case I totally agree that this is unacceptable because the consumer has not alternative but to do business with this government created monopoly. As a result I would support legislation that either required all such monopolies to provide and option to opt out of such practices or to ban the practice of selling customer information by a utility.

QUOTE
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
This was written to protect the people from the Government. Private citizens and companies have always been able to collect information on people. They cannot illegally enter your home, hack your computer, etc. But they could always take what you make available, and catalog it. Furthermore, it was never considered a violation of the 4th amendment for your legal judgements, and criminal convictions to be available for the public.

And I'm asking if that is the way it should be.
*




I will say it again, just to be clear. NO we should not restrict property ownership, business ownership, legal judgements, criminal convictions, or the like. This should remain public information so that the people can chose to be informed about those they deal with, without having to tie up government resources and pay for the services of a lawyer.

Edited to Add:

Just another interesting note about privacy. P.O. Boxes. Several years ago the Post Office Rules on this changed as I understand it. Now, if you can prove that someone is conducting business through a P.O. box (like bringing in solicitations with that P.O. Box on it), then the Post Office has to release contact information for the Box to you. Personal P.O. Boxes are still safe (unless, I assume, you are using one to sell stuff on Ebay or the like), but businesses can no longer hide their identity behind them.
Google
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Apr 25 2005, 06:09 PM)
The way we both look at this is likely do to a fundamental difference in philosophy.  I believe people should have the ability to address wrongs done to them on their own (without violence of course), without having to solicit government intervention or hire a lawyer.  If I am correct, and in this instance you see it differently on this level then I doubt we could ever come to an agreement on this issue do to this more basic difference.
*


In an ideal world I might agree with you, but I think we both know that we don't live in that ideal world. Using the example you provided, getting hurt on someone's property is 9 times out of 10 going to result in interaction with one of the groups I mentioned.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Why should judgements against you or criminal convictions be private. These are acts you committed, part of the consequences for those actions is that the information about them is available and could make life difficult for you on occasion. That in itself should be something of a deterrent to wrong doing.

You are focusing on criminal acts, when in reality all legal judgements are out there. For example you could find out if someone had been divorced or not. I would argue that is no one's business but the two parties involved, the state and the lawyers.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
When you purchase an unlisted number, you are purchasing the right not to have your number listed in the phone books. By doing so, you keep yourself out of a host of databases. However, if you then decide to provide that number to someone or some organization that does not specifically guarantee the privacy of your information then you will end up in other phone directories.

So, it is the actions of the person with the unlisted number that results in it being listed.

So you are blaming it on the person? Just how up front are most companies about their privacy policy to the average consumer? I'd say for most places, it might be in the "fine print" but as I'm sure you know most people never read it (present company probably included). Furthermore, do those same companies still give you the option to do business with them if for example you don't provide your phone number and address along with other information? This most often comes into play with credit cards - particularly on the internet, so are we just supposed not ever use a credit card or do business on the internet again?

The point here OS, is that there are legitimate reasons that someone could seek out this information but there are also plenty of reasons people have no business being aware of it. The lack of transparency on the behalf of corporations about what they do with your information is also troubling. Have you ever noticed that on pretty much any web form those boxes that equate to "share my information with third parties" are always checked by default? There is a reason for that. I always uncheck them but I'm pretty sure that many Americans are exactly like my parents who manage to get an email virus every two weeks and aren't savvy enough to notice this. It is precisely the availability of information like this that in a lot of cases facilitates identity theft these days.

I am of the opinion that it is the state's job to ensure that a person has the ability to keep this information private if they choose to do so, and no business or non-government entity should be able to compel someone to provide it without good reason. Obviously that would mean that you also shouldn't be able to get some random person on the street's life story if you happen to know their first and last name.

This isn't specifically enumerated in the Constitution this way, but the 4th amendment is written very much along the same lines.
overlandsailor
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Apr 25 2005, 09:15 PM)
In an ideal world I might agree with you, but I think we both know that we don't live in that ideal world.  Using the example you provided, getting hurt on someone's property is 9 times out of 10 going to result in interaction with one of the groups I mentioned.


I would contend that we are never going to get any closer to an ideal world if we continue to make policy as if adults cannot take responsiblity for themselves.

QUOTE
You are focusing on criminal acts, when in reality all legal judgements are out there.  For example you could find out if someone had been divorced or not.  I would argue that is no one's business but the two parties involved, the state and the lawyers.


There are many family course issues that are not public information, I would assume because many involve minors. However, I would assume you are correct in saying that divorce information is publicly accessible (something I never and a reason to search for in the old days).

But again, why should it not be public. For one, if you were going to marry someone, you would probably like to know their history. For another, the court is publicly funded, and those public funds were used to address the personal issues of adults. I see no reason why we should not have access to how those funds were spend, on what, or why. In the majority of cases, divorce is the result of not taking marriage serious enough to start with. That action has consequences. However, in the cases where divorce is the result of an abusive relationship (either against the spouse or the children), I could see supporting that this information be kept private.

QUOTE
So you are blaming it on the person?


Yes, in most cases it is the fault of the consumer. I'l expand on this in response to a few other points to follow.

QUOTE
Just how up front are most companies about their privacy policy to the average consumer?


QUOTE
Furthermore, do those same companies still give you the option to do business with them if for example you don't provide your phone number and address along with other information?  This most often comes into play with credit cards - particularly on the internet, so are we just supposed not ever use a credit card or do business on the internet again?


The majority of places I do business with these days are on the internet, and that is were I conduct the bulk of my business with them. All of the companies I do business with (accept the government created monopolies I mentioned earlier) have a privacy policy I can live with, and most, if not all have the ability to opt out of future solicitations from them, as well as opt out of your information being provided to third party "partners". In cases where there privacy policy does not suit me, or they give me no option to opt out of further marketing or infromation sharing I choose to take my business elsewhere (again with the exception of utility monopolies).

QUOTE
I'd say for most places, it might be in the "fine print" but as I'm sure you know most people never read it (present company probably included). 


Are you actually suggesting we need to pass legislation to protect people because they do not take the time to read the contracts they sign?

QUOTE
The lack of transparency on the behalf of corporations about what they do with your information is also troubling.  Have you ever noticed that on pretty much any web form those boxes that equate to "share my information with third parties" are always checked by default?  There is a reason for that.


Again, we need to pass legislation to protect people because the don't take the time to consider how to properly fill out a form?

Of course those boxes to opt in are checked by default, the company wants the ability to reach you to sell you more stuff. The solution is as simple as unchecking the box.

QUOTE
I always uncheck them but I'm pretty sure that many Americans are exactly like my parents who manage to get an email virus every two weeks and aren't savvy enough to notice this.  It is precisely the availability of information like this that in a lot of cases facilitates identity theft these days.


So what you are saying is that we need to pass legislation, and regulations, spend more federal money managing and enforcing them, not to mention any possible negative this could conceivably have on the economy simply because there are people who are too irresponsible to take the time to review contracts, check privacy policies, and check or uncheck future solicitation boxes? Am I understanding you correctly here?

QUOTE
I am of the opinion that it is the state's job to ensure that a person has the ability to keep this information private if they choose to do so, and no business or non-government entity should be able to compel someone to provide it without good reason.  Obviously that would mean that you also shouldn't be able to get some random person on the street's life story if you happen to know their first and last name.


So then you would prefer situations like the real estate deal I mentioned earlier go unchecked, then require people to take a little responsiblity for themselves?

QUOTE
This isn't specifically enumerated in the Constitution this way, but the 4th amendment is written very much along the same lines.
*



The 4th Amendment, as well as the entire Constitution was written to restrict the power of the government and ensure the liberty of the people. Not the other way around.
AuthorMusician
QUOTE
1. Is this a cool use of technology, a scary invasion of privacy or some of both? Why or why not?


As long as we have public records, it's a cool use of the technology. So someone can figure out my birth month and year, possibly day, and maybe some telephone number that was listed seven years ago (no longer in use), a few bits and pieces elsewhere. Oh well, hope it's worth the bucks because the information is relatively useless. I know it's out there and I know what is out there. It isn't all that interesting, so I'm not scared.

I can see this being bad for people who spout a lot of untruths about themselves. I did find that my lead guy is indeed ten years younger than I am, something I'd figured out on my own from his story lines.

QUOTE
2. Should people be able to purchase some of this information listed such as credit reports, legal judgements, home ownership, etc or should this remain private and available only to government agencies?


This information is public. It is available to everyone now.

QUOTE
3. Should you be able to opt out of this kind of thing if you don't want your information available with a few clicks?


Again, this information is public. Anything more is an invasion of privacy, but private dicks collect invasive information all the time for divorce cases and other things.

QUOTE
4. We talk a lot about our right to privacy, but this tool shows just how little privacy we actually have. Is this tool overstepping our 4th amendment protections? If not, should our government be addressing this?


It's true that a good portion of our information is available to anyone wanting to look for it. There might be a danger of using this information for identity theft, and if this can be demonstrated, then a case could be built that restricting access in some manner is protecting honest citizens.

What I'd recommend is requiring outfits providing the information to run background checks on clients. If criminal records show up, disallow the client from using the system. Also if a career in sales shows up mrsparkle.gif
Juber3
Personally, i believe this is an invasion of privacy. If i don't want my banruptcy statement out there then get it off the site. Personally, i want to see this site taken down only due to the fact that we pay money for our number to not be displayed, i do not want my phone number out there. And what about all of the murders killers and drug dealers out there that need the money? I know this is going to the extreme but if they know the persons name on who to search they can easily get the personal information.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Apr 25 2005, 08:03 PM)
The majority of places I do business with these days are on the internet, and that is were I conduct the bulk of my business with them.  All of the companies I do business with (accept the government created monopolies I mentioned earlier) have a privacy policy I can live with, and most, if not all have the ability to opt out of future solicitations from them, as well as opt out of your information being provided to third party "partners".  In cases where there privacy policy does not suit me, or they give me no option to opt out of further marketing or infromation sharing I choose to take my business elsewhere (again with the exception of utility monopolies).
*


The main problem here OS is that you are trying to take your experience with your business and apply it to everyone. It simply doesn't work that way for a lot of people.

I'll give you an example. If you are one of the millions of Americans that works for a corporation and you have to travel for your job then you are subject to a travel policy of some kind. Most of these travel policies have some common characteristics and many of them either require you to use one company (because there is an established bulk discount), pick from a pool of companies or go with the lowest priced company - no exceptions.

So I'll give you a real world example from my short business trip yesterday. I even did a little bit of field work to prove a point here. Yesterday I had to fly to Washington for business (out and back in the same day) and that means I obviously had to use an air carrier and a car rental company. Now I have a choice of who to use, but for the sake of argument let's say I didn't with the car rental company (and I have worked for major consulting firms where this is the case).

A car rental company is of course going to require certain information from you such as your address and your home and work phone numbers so they can get in touch with you if their car comes back damaged or doesn't turn up. When the woman working at the counter asked me for this information I decided to ask them about their privacy policy before giving them the information. She said she didn't know, but her manager probably would. I then told her "Ok, well go get him, I'd like to know." So reluctantly she went back to get her manager. Guess what he didn't know either, and he referred me to someone at the corporate headquarters. I asked if I could rent the car without giving them this information and they said no.

So here I am with no choice but to rent a car from these people, they can't even tell me how they'll use my information and I don't have any option but to give it to them. Furthermore if I'm on a business trip I'm going to be in a hurry and I wouldn't have even bothered to go this far normally, but this was for research purposes.

So what if this company reserved the right to sell my information to whoever they wanted after I had taken steps to keep my phone number and address unlisted? How would that be my fault? Or is your argument now going to boil down to "go find someplace else to work?"

Fact
: Pretty much every company assumes by default that you want to opt in to be solicited and for them to sell your information.

Fact: They are never very upfront about this and as demonstrated above, often don't know the policy.

Fact: If you do actually want answers or if you want to get off their lists, it is made complex on purpose.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Are you actually suggesting we need to pass legislation to protect people because they do not take the time to read the contracts they sign?

I'm suggesting we need legislation that protects consumers, you know the people that actually vote for the politicians in office. Everything out there is on the side of the company. These "contracts" you feel that people should read are often written in fine print (6pt type or so) and written using legalese. So right there you have eliminated most people above a certain age from even being able to read the contract comfortably and you have eliminated far more by allowing the contract to be written in legalese instead of plain terms - the fact of the matter is most of the country only has a middle school reading level, certainly not enough to comprehend complex legalese.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Again, we need to pass legislation to protect people because the don't take the time to consider how to properly fill out a form?

Again I'm suggesting that we need legislation to protect the rights of consumers. If a company wants to sell your information or solicit you for various products then the standard for "opting in" needs to change. Right now it is assumed you want to opt in and if you do nothing you are opted in. It should be the other way around. You should have to explicitly opt in for this and it should be abundantly clear what you are opting in for. This would actually benefit companies too because now they'd have lists of people that actually wanted the sales pitch, instead of a list of random names.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
So what you are saying is that we need to pass legislation, and regulations, spend more federal money managing and enforcing them, not to mention any possible negative this could conceivably have on the economy simply because there are people who are too irresponsible to take the time to review contracts, check privacy policies, and check or uncheck future solicitation boxes? Am I understanding you correctly here?

Nope sorry, you aren't. Why do you think this would require some kind of federal money, new department, etc? The government has recently started passing laws about spam, do they now spend millions watching spammers? No they don't. What it has allowed is consumers now have a legal protection against them and can pursue that in court if they desire.

There are plenty of organizations out there that can hold businesses acountable with absolutely no government intervention. And in the cases they don't, consumers have legal recourse against the business - right now they don't.

QUOTE
So then you would prefer situations like the real estate deal I mentioned earlier go unchecked, then require people to take a little responsiblity for themselves?

OS I don't know what reality you are living in but if you get hurt on someone's property at the very least their insurance company and likely the police are going to be dealing with it. The days of people actually working out disputes themselves are long gone. It may be ideal, but I prefer to live in reality.

Therefore, the information should be available to those that need access to it such as police, lawyers, government agencies, and insurance companies. However the average person has no business knowing this information.

So what I think we need is the following:
- A consumer's bill of rights of sorts which requires them to actually opt in for releasing information and gives them remedies for violations through business agencies already designed for this like the BBB or through legal action.
- People should have to supply some sort of valid reason to get this information as a start. Right now you just pay your money and it is yours. If it is more overhead to have a person involved there evaluating the request so be it, the information should just cost more. Instead of costing $20 now maybe it costs $40. If you are the one that wants the information you should have to pay the additional cost.
- Finally, to protect against situations like this, laws requiring companies to inform you if your data is compromised should be standard practice.
- Fine print should be a thing of the past, companies should be required to display it in accordance with accessibility standards and there should be a requirement to display it in plain english instead of legalese.
overlandsailor
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Apr 27 2005, 01:22 PM)
The main problem here OS is that you are trying to take your experience with your business and apply it to everyone.  It simply doesn't work that way for a lot of people.


Actually, I am referring to my experience as a consumer. I would like to start my own company at some point, but as yet I have not. I left the company I worked for because I did not agree with the new policies they were putting forward. Had I been able to remain a member of the union as an independent contractor, I would be working for myself. Since the union makes no provision for that kind of member, and would not even bother to talk to me about alternatives I choose to take a job with another company. However, since my union decided to drop me with no effort to assist in the retention of my membership I start Friday at a new NON-UNION employer, whose policies I either agree with or can accept. Also, I have begun sending what I used to pay in Union dues to the National Right to Work Foundation. I was never very found of the union's tyrannical treatment of members who opposed their politics anyway.

Being on the very bottom edge of the middle class, having been there for some time, and having been a member of the working poor for a significant time prior to that I think I qualify as an average consumer, other then the fact that I prefer to take the time to read things before I agree to them, review forms before I submit them, and vote with my wallet whenever possible.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
I'll give you an example.  If you are one of the millions of Americans that works for a corporation and you have to travel for your job then you are subject to a travel policy of some kind.  Most of these travel policies have some common characteristics and many of them either require you to use one company (because there is an established bulk discount), pick from a pool of companies or go with the lowest priced company - no exceptions.


Now here we have an interesting situation. I agree to a point. In the case of air travel, there are federal regulations that require that you provide identification and the like. Since this is a requirement of all Airlines, I think it only reasonable that the airlines also be required to maintain the privacy of customer information unless the customer chooses an opt-in opportunity.

In the case of the rental car company example, well that is as more an issue with the persons employer then an issue with the rental company. In this example I see several possibilities.

1. Explain to the employer your privacy concerns and the issue with some rental companies.

2. Use a Taxi

3. Refuse to travel so long as your privacy can be at risk

4. Seek another employer.


In the my case, I had a major issue with some policy positions taken by my employer. Since I am not in a position of power to be able to change that policy, and since those that are chose not to, I choose to leave their employ.

In issues like this you DO have a choice. Leave the employer, or accept the situation. It may not be the best of choices, but it is your choice to make.


QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
Fact[/b]: Pretty much every company assumes by default that you want to opt in to be solicited and for them to sell your information.


Unless they do not disclose this fact I see no problem here.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
Fact: They are never very up front about this and as demonstrated above, often don't know the policy.


I have never had this issue. Either a company has a clear policy on this, or I do not do business with them. In situations where I have no choice but to do business with them (as is the case with Utility companies as in my examples, or Airlines and Federal Regulation as is the case in your example) I agree that there should be regulation requiring that these companies default to maintaining the customer's privacy unless that customer chooses to opt in.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
Fact: If you do actually want answers or if you want to get off their lists, it is made complex on purpose.


Never had this experience. All of the companies that I have the ability to choose to do business with have pretty clear policies on the matter. This is partly because I will not do business with those that do not.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Are you actually suggesting we need to pass legislation to protect people because they do not take the time to read the contracts they sign?

These "contracts" you feel that people should read are often written in fine print (6pt type or so) and written using legalese. So right there you have eliminated most people above a certain age from even being able to read the contract comfortably and you have eliminated far more by allowing the contract to be written in legalese instead of plain terms - the fact of the matter is most of the country only has a middle school reading level, certainly not enough to comprehend complex legalese.


This issue has already been addressed in case law. There are tons of cases where consumers got out of the obligations of a contract with a company because the contract was confusing, hard to read, written completely in legalese, etc.

This is why most companies now, take my previous employer for example (not exactly known for great customer service) have taken the step of repeating the most important items in large, bold, easy to understand print directly above the signature line. An interesting byproduct of this action is that the consumer is on solid footing in civil court if their argument covers a portion of the contract not represented in that text.


QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
Again I'm suggesting that we need legislation to protect the rights of consumers.  If a company wants to sell your information or solicit you for various products then the standard for "opting in" needs to change.  Right now it is assumed you want to opt in and if you do nothing you are opted in.  It should be the other way around.  You should have to explicitly opt in for this and it should be abundantly clear what you are opting in for.  This would actually benefit companies too because now they'd have lists of people that actually wanted the sales pitch, instead of a list of random names.


Well, about half of the companies I do business with have a policy where you are opted out by default. So, from my experience the default of opted in is not the standard. Again, I have to ask, if I, a high school educated man can find the privacy policy of a company, the option to opt-in or opt-out of future marketing and choose to take my business elsewhere when a company's policy in not to my liking, how is it that the rest of America is incapable of this, other then laziness which is no excuse?

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
Nope sorry, you aren't.  Why do you think this would require some kind of federal money, new department, etc?  The government has recently started passing laws about SPAM, do they now spend millions watching SPAMmers?  No they don't.  What it has allowed is consumers now have a legal protection against them and can pursue that in court if they desire.


Regulation requires enforcement to be effective. Enforcement costs money. Even the mere act of drafting legislation costs money, seen the cost of congressional staffs these days? It is a pipe dream to think you can write a regulation and enforce it without it costing money.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
There are plenty of organizations out there that can hold businesses accountable with absolutely no government intervention.  And in the cases they don't, consumers have legal recourse against the business - right now they don't.


One such organization already exists. the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Consumers can check here to see if a company they are considering doing business with has complaints from other consumers against them and what those complaints are. Looking this up is free. No need for new regulation with this one.

I am of course assuming that you do not feel companies deserve the same level of privacy.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
So then you would prefer situations like the real estate deal I mentioned earlier go unchecked, then require people to take a little responsibility for themselves?

OS I don't know what reality you are living in but if you get hurt on someone's property at the very least their insurance company and likely the police are going to be dealing with it. The days of people actually working out disputes themselves are long gone. It may be ideal, but I prefer to live in reality.
Therefore, the information should be available to those that need access to it such as police, lawyers, government agencies, and insurance companies. However the average person has no business knowing this information.


Actually, I was referring to this particular "real world" deal I posted about earlier in the topic:

QUOTE(OverlandSailor)
Interestingly, I actually did a small case for the Democratic party back then, investigating the ownership of a property that was purchased for an inflated price by the county official responsible of HUD. The property in question was an old hotel that was purchased for 5 times the average value of the same type of properties in the same area, even though it has such a severe sewage leakage problem that if the government that bought it would not have allowed a private citizen to buy it prior to the complete of repairs. My investigation revealed that the property was owned by a holding company. That holding company was privately owned. 100% ownership of that holding company belonged to the father-in-law of the same county official that choose to by the property.

The fact that this information was available allowed the public better over-site of their government in this case, even though the actual information accessed was that of a private citizen with no direct connection to government.

I would much rather have the ability to be well informed and take the chance that other's having this ability could cause me grief one day, then have to function completely in the dark.

Protecting this information, IMHO would allow for greater abuse of the public by unscrupulous individuals and politicians then this information being available is likely to cause individual citizens.
Link

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
- Finally, to protect against situations like this, laws requiring companies to inform you if your data is compromised should be standard practice.
- Fine print should be a thing of the past, companies should be required to display it in accordance with accessibility standards and there should be a requirement to display it in plain English instead of legalese.
*



Now I think it is obvious that we disagree about the first several proposals. However, I can agree with this one 100%. If a company is going to maintain records of personal information of their customers they should be legally obligated to maintain a proper level of security over that data and should be required to notify their customers if a compromise of that security happens.

As a side note: I recently received a letter from the Bank that handles government credit cards. They informed me that they had a data compromise in regards to government card holder information and asked that I keep an eye on my bill to ensure nothing appears that I did not purchase. They then sent me a series of three letters so far, notifying me of the situations status and informing me that so far, no fraudulent use of the information has been detected. So some companies do take this step already, though I do agree with you that this should be mandatory.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Apr 27 2005, 04:35 PM)
In the case of the rental car company example, well that is as more an issue with the persons employer then an issue with the rental company.  In this example I see several possibilities.

1. Explain to the employer your privacy concerns and the issue with some rental companies.

2. Use a Taxi

3. Refuse to travel so long as your privacy can be at risk

4. Seek another employer.
*


I really, really get tired of this kind of logic which generally comes from conservatives which is I am surprised it is your position.

1) If you are working at a large corporation they aren't going to care. They have negotiated a deal with a particular company, it saves them money and they aren't going to re-negotiate based on your privacy concerns.

2) Completely unrealistic. Most business trips in my industry are 2 to 3 days but more often than not 5 days (M-F). Therefore it is not cost effective to take a taxi and you'd be barred from doing so by the expense policy.

3) In which case you'd effectively be tendering your resignation if you worked in the consulting biz.

4) Why should you have to?

I really don't understand why your answer to a privacy problem is basically - you should quit your job. That just doesn't make sense. That is like saying well I have a problem with my plumbing, better bulldoze the house and buy a new one. You fix the plumbing obviously.

You should not be placed in a situation where you have compromise your privacy if you don't want to, the law should be on your side.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Unless they do not disclose this fact I see no problem here.

What if they don't? You don't exactly have a recourse here because there is no law in place.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
I have never had this issue. Either a company has a clear policy on this, or I do not do business with them. In situations where I have no choice but to do business with them (as is the case with Utility companies as in my examples, or Airlines and Federal Regulation as is the case in your example) I agree that there should be regulation requiring that these companies default to maintaining the customer's privacy unless that customer chooses to opt in.

So in other words I'm right. Just because you have never had this situation doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I just demonstrated it for you. I'm wondering if you have actually ever asked in that manner, and I can guarantee you that most people don't.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Never had this experience. All of the companies that I have the ability to choose to do business with have pretty clear policies on the matter. This is partly because I will not do business with those that do not.

Again you are assuming people always have a choice, they don't. Sometimes you can't blame it on your employer so you can't tell that person to go find a new job dry.gif

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Well, about half of the companies I do business with have a policy where you are opted out by default. So, from my experience the default of opted in is not the standard. Again, I have to ask, if I, a high school educated man can find the privacy policy of a company, the option to opt-in or opt-out of future marketing and choose to take my business elsewhere when a company's policy in not to my liking, how is it that the rest of America is incapable of this, other then laziness which is no excuse?

Laziness? It is simple ignorance, both of privacy issues and of the internet in general. Clearly you don't have a problem with that or you wouldn't be posting here on America's Debate. It is a fact that a large majority of the country is pretty dumb when it comes to things involving the internet. That is the reason people get email viruses, install spyware and pretty much the sole reason that AOL exists - they market to those people. Education isn't the issue OS. You claim that you do just fine with a high school education so everyone should be ok. My father has a PhD and I wouldn't even come close to calling him internet savvy. Education has nothing to do with it.

This creates a condition where people can be easily exploited and there should be some basic regulations in place here.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Regulation requires enforcement to be effective. Enforcement costs money. Even the mere act of drafting legislation costs money, seen the cost of congressional staffs these days? It is a pipe dream to think you can write a regulation and enforce it without it costing money.

I didn't say anything about regulation. Regulation by government agencies would not be necessary. It would be taken care of through watch dog groups and legal action.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
I am of course assuming that you do not feel companies deserve the same level of privacy.

A corporation is not a person OS, there is a HUGE difference. A corporation may have a lot of the rights that citizens do, but they are not people.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Interestingly, I actually did a small case for the Democratic party back then, investigating the ownership of a property

It was your job OS, therefore you had business getting to the information. However, if I as a random person decided I just wanted to find out all of your personal information and post it everywhere I could find on the internet I have that ability. However, I should have that ability - I shouldn't even be able to get to the information because I have no reason to do so.

Why do you think one of the instant-ban offenses at AD is posting of personal information without permission?
overlandsailor
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Apr 28 2005, 01:28 AM)
I really don't understand why your answer to a privacy problem is basically - you should quit your job.  That just doesn't make sense.  That is like saying well I have a problem with my plumbing, better bulldoze the house and buy a new one.  You fix the plumbing obviously.


There is another answer here. That being we accept that life is not always fair, and then we take the best actions we can take to protect our privacy.

Sorry, but your plumbing example makes no sense. It suggests that you are assuming that people have no options other then the extreme ones. One of the options is research. If one has an issue about maintaining their privacy, then they should consider the possible issues accepting some jobs might cause them in the future.

My position is this:
Privacy Policies should be disclosed openly by companies. It should be mandatory in cases where the government forces you to do business with that company and voluntary in cases where competition exists. In the case of competitive businesses, those that have clear privacy policies that seek to protect their customers will get the bulk of the business of those customers who are concerned about privacy (as least those concerned enough to actually look for the company privacy policy) over those who do not clearly state the policy. It becomes good business to do so, and it is why so many companies now do.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
I have never had this issue. Either a company has a clear policy on this, or I do not do business with them. In situations where I have no choice but to do business with them (as is the case with Utility companies as in my examples, or Airlines and Federal Regulation as is the case in your example) I agree that there should be regulation requiring that these companies default to maintaining the customer's privacy unless that customer chooses to opt in.

So in other words I'm right. Just because you have never had this situation doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I just demonstrated it for you. I'm wondering if you have actually ever asked in that manner, and I can guarantee you that most people don't.


Partially you are right, which is why I said in cases where people are forced by the government to do business with a company (be it a utility, a regulated airline or what not) then those businesses should have to have a privacy policy that enables their customers to opt out of any future marketing.

You can wonder about what I do all you like. However, having been in investigations, I take my privacy seriously as a matter of habit. I said I had never been in that situation because I WILL NOT do business with companies that do not have a clear privacy policy and and option to opt out of third party marketing. The only exception being the examples above, where I agree with you that they should be addressed.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Never had this experience. All of the companies that I have the ability to choose to do business with have pretty clear policies on the matter. This is partly because I will not do business with those that do not.

Again you are assuming people always have a choice, they don't. Sometimes you can't blame it on your employer so you can't tell that person to go find a new job


OK, so lets hear some of these examples then.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Well, about half of the companies I do business with have a policy where you are opted out by default. So, from my experience the default of opted in is not the standard. Again, I have to ask, if I, a high school educated man can find the privacy policy of a company, the option to opt-in or opt-out of future marketing and choose to take my business elsewhere when a company's policy in not to my liking, how is it that the rest of America is incapable of this, other then laziness which is no excuse?

Laziness? It is simple ignorance, both of privacy issues and of the internet in general. Clearly you don't have a problem with that or you wouldn't be posting here on America's Debate. It is a fact that a large majority of the country is pretty dumb when it comes to things involving the internet. That is the reason people get email viruses, install spyware and pretty much the sole reason that AOL exists - they market to those people. Education isn't the issue OS. You claim that you do just fine with a high school education so everyone should be ok. My father has a PhD and I wouldn't even come close to calling him internet savvy. Education has nothing to do with it.


Education does not always translate to common sense or wisdom. You can have all three or any mix of them, but having one is no guarantee that you also have the others.

People who are ignorant about these things do not need to remain that way. They can choose to read about it, take a class, ask a friend, etc. Furthermore, there are an enormous amount of groups out there that advocate privacy and give people help and tips on privacy. The idea being that they want to educate people to be able to better protect themselves. It is quite similar to the idea you are behind. People would not know where a companies money goes, were it not for sights like yours and others. That ignorance, prevents them from voting with their wallet until a private individual or group comes around and shows them this information.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
This creates a condition where people can be easily exploited and there should be some basic regulations in place here.


I do not disagree here as I have stated above, some regulation is needed. Where we disagree is on what is "basic" and what specifically needs to be regulated.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Regulation requires enforcement to be effective. Enforcement costs money. Even the mere act of drafting legislation costs money, seen the cost of congressional staffs these days? It is a pipe dream to think you can write a regulation and enforce it without it costing money.

I didn't say anything about regulation. Regulation by government agencies would not be necessary. It would be taken care of through watch dog groups and legal action.


OK, then I am confused because this is what is happening right now, so where is the problem?


QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Interestingly, I actually did a small case for the Democratic party back then, investigating the ownership of a property

It was your job OS, therefore you had business getting to the information. However, if I as a random person decided I just wanted to find out all of your personal information and post it everywhere I could find on the internet I have that ability. However, I should have that ability - I shouldn't even be able to get to the information because I have no reason to do so.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
Why do you think one of the instant-ban offenses at AD is posting of personal information without permission?
*



Because the site wishes to protect it's members privacy. As do many sites. The majority of companies out there have privacy policies, the majority have the ability to opt out of future marketing by them or third parties, and the majority realize that abusing peoples privacy is no way to get repeat business.

Watchdog groups already exist, law suits have been filed before, states have do not call lists, now there is a national do not call list, and years before either you could have gone to the national direct marketing association's web site, and added yourself to the opt OUT list they maintained for their members.

I do not see the need for government intervention here, outside of those issues I mentioned earlier and in other posts. Those companies, that due to government regulation are the only company you can do business with, and the other issue being the government regulations that requires you to provide private information to companies.

Outside of that it becomes a case by case basis that is already being handled by privacy watchdog groups and the like.

So:

Privacy watchdog groups are in place
Legal action teams have already been working on this
ALL of the information about how to protect yourself is already out there in a host of places
Most companies already have privacy policies and already allow customers to opt out of future marketing.

Seems like the problem, outside of those issues the government has created, is already addressed.

And by the way, the position is far more Libertarian, then Conservative, and I obviously do not feel that only the ignorant use AOL. whistling.gif
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Apr 28 2005, 06:24 AM)
Sorry, but your plumbing example makes no sense.  It suggests that you are assuming that people have no options other then the extreme ones.  One of the options is research.  If one has an issue about maintaining their privacy, then they should consider the possible issues accepting some jobs might cause them in the future.
*


No OS, you are the one that suggesting extreme options. I believe your exact quote was "Seek another employer" and "Refuse to travel so long as your privacy can be at risk" which would effectively mean quitting in that line of business.

So what I did is create an equally extreme abstract example to show you how extreme your position was here. I think you probably see how extreme your position is but you don't want to admit it whistling.gif

You should not have to choose between your job and your privacy. You cannot make any kind of valid argument about why you should not be able to have the career of your choice and your privacy unless you are some sort of public figure or celebrity.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
Privacy Policies should be disclosed openly by companies. It should be mandatory in cases where the government forces you to do business with that company and voluntary in cases where competition exists.

Kind of an odd position to hold for someone against requiring a lot of government intervention. Why make exceptions? If you do then all of a sudden you have to have someone determining which businesses are required to have a privacy policy and which ones are voluntary.

It should be mandatory for ALL businesses to clearly and openly disclose their privacy policy or the lack thereof.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
OK, so lets hear some of these examples then.

Ok here's a pretty simple one. Let's say you live in one of America's small towns, far enough from a major city to be a reasonable drive. Most small towns are served by one or at most a few airline carriers. Let's say for the sake of argument that all of these carriers have a bad privacy policy. Would you tell someone in this situation to not fly?

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
OK, then I am confused because this is what is happening right now, so where is the problem?

No it isn't happening now. The reason why you ask? If I was to send a cease and desist letter to zabasearch.com demanding they remove my information, just how seriously do you think that would be taken? I could send the same letter to all such agencies, same result. In fact as the article cites you can send an email to their opt out address but they don't guarantee you'll actually be opted out. Until that changes, we do not have adequate protection.

If someone doesn't want their address and phone number to be out there - anywhere - they should have the ability to make that happen. The only people that should have access to it after such a request is people they allow to have it and certain government agencies. If someone doesn't want their credit information getting out unless they specifically request that a business or employer check it, that should be possible.
Artemise
Im a bit freaked out because via this site I found not only myself but pictures of me in childhood, my entire family. Im not sure what to think. Right now im unfolding my entire history via internet.

Actually this has been very upsetting, Im crying right now. I never would have expected all these things to be on the net. Pictures of my grandmother who is dead now and myself. Its completelty unerving. I realize that my father posted his geneology somewhere, but ...its like finding your own FBI file or something. I simply do not know what to think.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Artemise @ Apr 29 2005, 02:38 AM)
Im a bit freaked out because via this site I found not only myself but pictures of me in childhood, my entire family. Im not sure what to think. Right now im unfolding my entire history via internet.

Actually this has been very upsetting, Im crying right now. I never would have expected all these things to be on the net. Pictures of my grandmother who is dead now and myself. Its completelty unerving. I realize that my father posted his geneology somewhere, but ...its like finding your own FBI file or something. I simply do not know what to think.
*



My God! That is disturbing. ermm.gif I haven't commented on this topic because I placed my name through and it revealed about 50 different addresses and phone numbers, NONE of which were mine. It didn't work for my maiden name, either. I've found that these things can be quite inaccurate...Christopher started a thread somewhere (couldn't find it) with a different, but similar search site. I found my address and phone number on that one, but I was also listed as having lived in two other locations I've never even visited. huh.gif Even my husband's top secret clearance from several years ago listed that he had an alias (he doesn't, never did). wacko.gif

Basically these types of sites don't unnerve me. I agreed to make this information public by signing on to Albertson's cards, internet sites, ect, in the first place. I'm much more unnerved by the fact that all of our personal information was "lost" along with thousands of others, from the credit card company that the military required we sign in to in the first place! Identity theft, anyone? ermm.gif
overlandsailor
Note: Sorry I did not respond earlier, I seem to have a problem lately of missing responses to topics. ermm.gif

I think it might be due to using "view new posts" and then, due to a lack available time, waiting to respond until later. Once viewed, I think the topic drops from that "new posts" list, and since that is the main page I use around here, I create my own problem.

I am guessing the best way to address this, while still being able to read topics now and respond later, is to start using the track topic option. Anyway, back to my response.


Ok we obviously disagree on this issue on some instances.

I agree that there should be regulation of industries where were are forced to give personal information to do business with them because of federal regulations. The airlines and banking ar good examples.

I agree that there should be regulation of industries where because of the nature of that service/ product and/or government intervention, we are forced to do business with them because there is no other option. Your Electric Company, Gas Company, Water Company, etc.

Outside of that, there is competition, and that competition always people to research and chose the company that they would prefer do do business with. They make that choice because of company return policies, guarantees, etc. But they should also be making this choice based on contract items, privacy policy, consumer complaint history, etc. Lastly, we would all like to see them make their choices based also on the company policies in regards to environmental protection, political contributions, personnel policies, etc (a concept you are doing an excellent job promoting at Buy Blue. thumbsup.gif ).

However, these are choices. People make them everyday and they have consequences. A lady drove into the back of my parked work truck last year, on a 20mph residential street. She was distracted by talking on the cell phone. Did the cell phone cause the accident, or did her personal choice to use it while driving cause it?

I oppose any regulation that seeks to effective protect us from the choices we make. I oppose Helmet laws for example.

When you provide personal information to a company without bothering to check their privacy policy to see how it will be handled then you are effectively rolling the dice.

When it comes to unlisted phone numbers, the ONLY thing you are purchasing when you choose to have one, is the right not to have it listed IN THE PHONE BOOK. If you choose to provide that number to anyone else, without first checking how the privacy of that number will be handled, then YOU are risking putting it out there for the world.

I would rather have the freedom to research individuals political contributions, business connections, past financial and criminal history, etc so that I can know who I am dealing with. I will take the chance that my information can get out there as a result. Interestingly, some of the information available at Zaba on me was accurate, but most was out of date. I did not pay for further searches so I couldn't tell you what all they have on me.

Another reason I oppose things like this, when the consumer has options is because regulation costs money. It costs to enforce, and it costs to comply too. It costs US Industry billions of dollars annually just to comply with federal regulations. As we loss more and more jobs overseas it seems unwise to me to add more costs industry, thus adding more incentives for them to outsource, if not move operations to another country entirely.

Also, when it comes to site like ZabaSearch, trying to regulate them is pointless. An internet based company has a relatively easy time moving overseas. If we draft regulations that increase their costs of doing business beyond their ability to earn a profit, there is not reason to think they would not move their business to another country, making our regulatory efforts meaningless, and costing jobs in the US in the process.

A better approach, IMHO, is regulating those industries where people cannot choose to protect themselves due to government regulation, and then investing in consumer education to help people understand what to look for, what to avoid and what to do if they are wronged.



QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Apr 29 2005, 01:03 AM)
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Apr 28 2005, 06:24 AM)
Sorry, but your plumbing example makes no sense.  It suggests that you are assuming that people have no options other then the extreme ones.   One of the options is research.   If one has an issue about maintaining their privacy, then they should consider the possible issues accepting some jobs might cause them in the future.
*


No OS, you are the one that suggesting extreme options. I believe your exact quote was "Seek another employer" and "Refuse to travel so long as your privacy can be at risk" which would effectively mean quitting in that line of business.

So what I did is create an equally extreme abstract example to show you how extreme your position was here.


QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
...That is like saying well I have a problem with my plumbing, better bulldoze the house and buy a new one.  You fix the plumbing obviously.


Your example failed to include the: "change the plumbing industry so that no one has to do any work to maintain there own plumbing themselves", which is how the plumbing issue would compare with your suggestions here in this topic IMHO.

I oppose ALL regulation that seeks to protect individuals from their own bad choices. People need to be free to live as they wish, but with that freedom comes the responsibility for, and consequences from their actions.

QUOTE
You should not have to choose between your job and your privacy.  You cannot make any kind of valid argument about why you should not be able to have the career of your choice and your privacy unless you are some sort of public figure or celebrity.


Really?, heres one: Life is not fair. Sometimes we have to choose the lesser of to evils. In your case, you chose to earn a higher living, and with that choice comes the need to travel away from family, as well as some privacy issues.

I am interested to know, have you ever attempted to address these privacy concerns with your employer? What was the response?

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
OK, so lets hear some of these examples then.

Ok here's a pretty simple one. Let's say you live in one of America's small towns, far enough from a major city to be a reasonable drive. Most small towns are served by one or at most a few airline carriers. Let's say for the sake of argument that all of these carriers have a bad privacy policy. Would you tell someone in this situation to not fly?


Not a very good example here. The reason is that federal regulation requires that people present all sorts of personal information to fly. This is why I said I would support regulating privacy concerns when dealing with airlines, banks and the like. Do you have an example outside of the areas I said in earlier posts (as well as above in this one) I said I would support?

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
If someone doesn't want their address and phone number to be out there - anywhere - they should have the ability to make that happen.  The only people that should have access to it after such a request is people they allow to have it and certain government agencies.  If someone doesn't want their credit information getting out unless they specifically request that a business or employer check it, that should be possible.
*



Real world response will make such efforts meaningless. The only thing that will result from forcing companies like this to remove listed information upon request is that those companies will move their operations to countries where these regulations do not apply. The same information will be out there, but that many more jobs will not.

When you get down to the more basic requirements, like say your suggestion to require all companies that take personal information, have a clearly defined privacy policy make available to every customer you have to issues to overcome.

First issue is more basic. What is clearly defined. This could be addressed in the creation of the regulation (legislation or requirement if you prefer).

The second issue comes down to the public. Are you willing to pay, for the sake of discussion say 0.2% more, on nearly every product or service you purchase so that the companies can fund the increased costs of this?

If the majority of Americans say yes, then this will likely be enacted. If they say no, well, you get what you pay for.

Requirements above and beyond simply requiring that all companies that require personal information are required to have a clearly defined policy go into the realm of protecting people from themselves IMHO (with the obvious exception of those industries that you have no access to competition, or that are required to take such information, industry-wide, per government regulation (law, mandate, whatever). Again, it will come down to whether or not the body public believes the cost for this will outweigh the benefits. IMHO it will.
Mike
ATTENTION TO GUEST READERS OF THIS TOPIC:

America's Debate is NOT affiliated with Zabasearch in any way, shape, or form. We are merely a debate forum discussing Zabasearch.

Requests to remove your information from the Zabasearch database will be IGNORED.


PLEASE STOP REQUESTING THAT WE REMOVE YOU FROM SOME OTHER COMPANY'S DATABASE!!


Thanks,

Mike
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