Public Records on the Internet: The Privacy Dilemma


One of the most challenging public policy issues of our time is the balancing act between access to public records and personal privacy - the difficulty of accommodating both personal privacy interests and the public interest of transparent government. I will discuss the privacy implications of making public records containing personal information available on the Internet. I list nine negative consequences of the availability of public records online. I conclude by offering 11 recommendations for safeguarding personal privacy while upholding the public policy reason for providing access, that being to promote government accountability.

For Egghead.com customers, from the President and CEO of Egghead -- Deadline Sept. 21, 2001


Dear Valued Egghead.com Customer,

As you know from my previous letter, Egghead.com has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is in the process of selling its ongoing business.  As part of the sale process, Egghead.com has entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with Fry's Electronics but other companies will be given the opportunity to outbid Fry's.  As a result, another company might be approved by the court as the actual buyer.  We plan to complete the sale soon and in no event later than September 30, 2001.

Eight Reasons to be Skeptical of a "Technology Fix" for Protecting Privacy


I'm going to begin by listing just a few of the many technology-based services that are available now or are soon to be launched. I will then list eight reasons why I am not convinced that these services are the entire answer to safeguarding consumer privacy.

Then, to close, I will discuss approaches that I believe are more likely to provide meaningful protection of our personal privacy.

The Emperor's New Clothes: Privacy on the Internet in 1999


The most irrefutable finding of the May 1999 Internet Privacy Policy Survey (hereinafter called the Survey) is that collection of personally identifiable information is the norm on commercial web sites. The Survey found that 93% of the sites in the sample (n=364) collect at least one type of personal information (such as name, email address, postal address). Only 7% of the sites collect no information.(2)

Privacy Implications of Privatization of the County's Information Technology Systems


A great deal has been said and written about the management of technology under a privatized system. But little about the information itself.

The County holds a tremendous amount of personal information about its citizens. Property tax records, voting files, library records, the extensive data files of our social services including health and welfare data, birth, death, and marriage certificates, court documents, and so on.

True or False? You Can Find Out Anything About Anybody on the Net


Privacy on the Internet is exploding as a topic of public concern these days. Recent surveys have found that 4 out 5 Net users are concerned about threats to their privacy when they're online. Yet only 6% of them have actually experienced privacy abuses.

Those who are not yet on the Net cite privacy as the main reason they have chosen not to become Internet users. If electronic commerce is going to thrive, this fear is going to have to be dealt with by laws and by industry practices. The Clinton Administration is counting on industry to regulate itself, something I will touch on later.

Issues of Privacy and Access


Advances in technology give rise to the classic double edged sword. There are obvious benefits, such as locating and garnishing the wages of deadbeat parents. But there is also the downside, the development of a cradle to grave electronic dossier which can pose threats to personal privacy and which can be used for purposes of social control.

My presentation will focus on the privacy implications of advances in technology and the importance of crafting policies to enable the benefits to proceed while minimizing the negative consequences.

Comments In Opposition to the Court Technnology Committee Draft Rule: Access to Electronic Records


The Draft Rule endorsed by the Court Technology Committee would require that all records a court makes available to the public also be made available electronically. This Draft Rule is actually the recommendation of only the minority of members of the Privacy and Access Subcommittee. The majority recommended an Alternate Draft Rule ("Alternate Rule") which would require electronic access only to specified index information in case files, exclusive of all non-public data and references to cases, courts or persons, other than the parties and their attorneys.

Public Records in a Computerized Network Environment: Privacy Implications


The burgeoning information industry is acquiring data from both public and private sector sources, merging and repackaging them and then selling them on the marketplace. CDB Infotek is one of those companies, headquartered in Santa Ana -- another is Information Resources in Fullerton. Look in the Yellow Pages under 'investigators' and you'll see dozens of small companies that subscribe to the information services provided by these larger information clearinghouses.

 

The Privacy Problems Inherent in the Smart Grid


The infrastructure that will support the Smart Grid will be capable of informing consumers of their day-to-day energy use, right down to the appliance level.  This sophisticated infrastructure has the potential to curb greenhouse gas emissions and reduce consumers’ energy bills.  However, it introduces the possibility of collecting detailed information on individual energy consumption usage and patterns within consumers’ homes, traditionally the most private of places.  Industry and regulators must take great care not to sacrifice consumer privacy in the process of developing and implementing the Smart Grid. 

 

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