PRIVACY Forum Archive Document
PRIVACY Forum Digest Tuesday, 3 November 1992 Volume 01 : Issue 24 Moderated by Lauren Weinstein (email@example.com) Vortex Technology, Topanga, CA, U.S.A. ===== PRIVACY FORUM ===== The PRIVACY Forum digest is supported in part by the ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy. CONTENTS Privacy on the Agenda? (Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator) Carnegie Commission on S&T Policy and Long-Term Goals (Gary Chapman) Information America (Jan Wolitzky) *** Please include a RELEVANT "Subject:" line on all submissions! *** *** Submissions without them may be ignored! *** ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- The PRIVACY Forum is a moderated digest for the discussion and analysis of issues relating to the general topic of privacy (both personal and collective) in the "information age" of the 1990's and beyond. The moderator will choose submissions for inclusion based on their relevance and content. Submissions will not be routinely acknowledged. ALL submissions should be addressed to "firstname.lastname@example.org" and must have RELEVANT "Subject:" lines. Submissions without appropriate and relevant "Subject:" lines may be ignored. Subscriptions are by an automatic "listserv" system; for subscription information, please send a message consisting of the word "help" (quotes not included) in the BODY of a message to: "email@example.com". Mailing list problems should be reported to "firstname.lastname@example.org". All submissions included in this digest represent the views of the individual authors and all submissions will be considered to be distributable without limitations. The PRIVACY Forum archive, including all issues of the digest and all related materials, is available via anonymous FTP from site "cv.vortex.com/", in the "/privacy" directory. Use the FTP login "ftp" or "anonymous", and enter your e-mail address as the password. The typical "README" and "INDEX" files are available to guide you through the files available for FTP access. PRIVACY Forum materials may also be obtained automatically via e-mail through the listserv system. Please follow the instructions above for getting the listserv "help" information, which includes details regarding the "index" and "get" listserv commands, which are used to access the PRIVACY Forum archive. For information regarding the availability of this digest via FAX, please send an inquiry to email@example.com, call (310) 455-9300, or FAX to (310) 455-2364. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- VOLUME 01, ISSUE 24 Quote for the day: "The freedom to use handcuffs for friendly purposes." -- One of a variety of activities listed (and demonstrated) on a "Rock the Vote" public service video spot encouraging people to vote in the November 1992 election. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 3 Nov 92 22:12:00 PST From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator) Subject: Privacy on the Agenda? Greetings. While I normally consider it best to steer clear of specific politics in this forum, it is impossible to ignore the fact that today the die was cast for a new President and a Congress of the same party. It may be safe to assume that a variety of legislative work that has been impractical for at least the last twelve years of "divided" Executive and Legislative branches may now have a higher probability of development and passage. There is indeed much work to be done, and I suspect that it's only natural to expect that the issues of privacy may not be high (or even present) on many lists. However, as the next century approaches, it is more critical than ever that we address, at the federal level, the need for new privacy protections for individuals in our technological age. The existing federal privacy law is no longer adequate to deal with the range of privacy/information "incursions" that now routinely occur, and it has become fairly obvious that relying on voluntary actions to provide such protections will yield few results. Privacy is one of those intangibles that you can't touch, taste, or see. Its loss can be gradual and insidious, and until there are gaping holes most people may not even notice that it has been peeling away. The PRIVACY Forum is one place where I hope we can discuss some specific ways in which privacy concerns can and should be protected on both the national and international levels. I hope that we all, regardless of our particular political inclinations, can offer sincere congratulations and a wish of best luck to the new Clinton administration and Congress. And now, I climb off my electronic soapbox and return you to your regularly scheduled digest. --Lauren-- ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1992 08:20:24 -0500 From: "(Gary Chapman)" <email@example.com> Subject: Carnegie Commission on S&T Policy and Long-Term Goals The Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government has released a new report on democracy and science and technology policy, entitled, "Enabling the Future: Linking Science and Technology to Societal Goals" (September 1992). The report was prepared by a small panel that was a subset of a larger group studying the entire range of science and technology policy issues; the larger group's report has not yet been released. The panel on long-term social goals was chaired by H. Guyford Stever, who was director of the National Science Foundation during the Ford administration, White House Science Adviser to both Nixon and Ford, and president of Carnegie-Mellon University from 1965 to 1972. Panel members included Harvey Brooks of Harvard University; William D. Carey, former head of AAAS; John Gibbons, director of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment; Rodney Nichols, head of the New York Academy of Sciences; James B. Wyngaarden, foreign secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and former head of the National Institutes of Health; and Charles Zracket, former CEO of the MITRE Corporation and now a Scholar-in-Residence at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. This report begins as follows: The end of the Cold War, the rise of other economically and scientifically powerful nations, and competition in the international economy present great opportunities for the United States to address societal needs: policy- makers may now focus more attention on social and econo- mic concerns and less on potential military conflicts. In the next decade and those that follow, the United States will confront critical public policy issues that are intimately connected with advances in science and technology. . . . Policy issues will not be resolved by citizens, scientists, business executives, or government officials working alone; addressing them effectively will require the concerted efforts of all sectors of society. Further on, a passage worth quoting at some length: We believe that American faces a clear choice. For too long, our science and technology policies, apart from support of basic research, have emphasized short-term solutions while neglecting longer-term objectives. If this emphasis continues, the problems we have encountered in recent years, such as erosion of the nation's indust- rial competitiveness and the difficulties of meeting increasingly challenging standards of environmental quality, could overwhelm promising opportunities for progress. However, we believe there is an alternative. The United States could base its S&T policies more firmly on long-range considerations and link these policies to societal goals through more comprehensive assessment of opportunities, costs, and benefits. We emphasize the necessity for choice because there is nothing inevitable about the shape of the future: the policy decisions we make today will determine whether historic opportunities will be seized or squandered. . . As Frank Press, President of the National Academy of Sciences, said recently, "Without a vision of the future, there is no basis for choosing policies in science and technology that will be appropriate for the years ahead." The panel says that their report does not propose societal goals that should be met by changing S&T policy; "we believe this is primarily a political process," the report says. The report instead addresses the process of defining social goals and shaping policy to meet them. There are five major recommendations of the panel: 1. Establishment of a nongovernmental National Forum on Science and Technology Goals. This Forum, says the report, would "assemble a broad-based and diverse group of individuals who are both critical and innovative, and who can examine societal goals and the ways in which science and technology can best contribute to their achievement." This group would also sponsor meetings and research, and would eventually propose "specific long-term S&T goals in both national and international contexts, and identify milestones in achieving them." The panel proposes two options for the convening of such a National Forum: under the umbrella of the National Academies, or as a new, independent, nongovernmental organization. 2. The panel says that "Congress should devote more explicit attention to long-term S&T goals in its budget, authorization, appropriation, and oversight procedures." The panel recommends annual or biennial hearings on long-term S&T goals before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. 3. The panel suggests that federal government agencies supporting science and technology policy should be directed to aid the Congress in assessing long-term S&T goals, such as OTA and the Congressional Budget Office. 4. The same goes for executive branch agencies, particularly the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget. 5. Finally, federal departments and agencies should contribute to the process of developing long-term goals by coordinating R&D efforts and sponsoring extramural research that helps support analysis and vision. The panel does propose some potential societal goals that might be addressed through the process the report recommends. The goals are very broad and include education; personal and public health; cultural pluralism; economic growth; full employment; international cooperation; worldwide sustainable development; and human rights, among other very expansive goals. The report also identifies the "players" that should be part of the process of policymaking. These include the above-mentioned components of the federal government, state governments, academia, industry, and nongovernmental organizations. In the latter category, the panel mentions professional societies in science and technology, environmental organizations, and the National Academies complex, which includes the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Research Council. The report very admirably concludes with a quote from Einstein: "The concern for man and his destiny must always be the chief interest of all technical effort: Never forget it among your diagrams and equations." Copies of the 72-page report are available for free from: The Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government 10 Waverly Place, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10003 (212) 998-2150 (voice) (212) 995-3181 (fax) Gary Chapman Coordinator The 21st Century Project Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Cambridge, Massachusetts firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 29 Oct 92 16:49 EST From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Information America In the November, 1992, issue of ONLINE, is a horrifying article (pp. 103 - 105) in the "Legal Briefing" department by one Teresa Pritchard-Schoch, entitled, "Information America: A Tool for the Knight in Shining Armor." The author gushes on about what a wonderful boon the Information America database service is for lawyers (her "Knights in Shining Armor") and others. A few extended quotes: "In one interesting case we (the research staff at a law firm) investigated an entire jury's background before the members were even selected. The case involved three affluent plaintiffs. . . . Our goal was to find a jury who would not have any sympathy for the plaintiffs . . . . By checking a motor vehicles license database and real estate property records, we were able to compile a jury whose members all except one drove cars more than six years old. Moreover, no one on the jury owned any real estate. Online sources also revealed facts about the jury members' likes and dislikes which were subtly used to influence them at trial. The opposing counsel was completely unaware of the tactics our firm used and probably still wonders why he lost that case. . . ." "Information America databases for investigative services include Sleuth, Asset Locator, Executive Affiliation, People Finder, Business Finder, and Litigation Prep. "Sleuth searches millions of public records from both state and county sources, including corporate and limited partnership records, UCC and lien filings, . . . assumed and fictitious names. . . . The relationships between individuals and business would be almost impossible to duplicate manually. . . ." "Asset Locator search real property records, aircraft registration . . ., stock holdings . . ., and personal property locators. . . . A real property search for transfers, rather than holdings, is also available. . . ." "People Finder accesses 111 million names, 92 million households and 61 million telephone numbers. The profile obtained includes the current address, telephone number, residence type, length of residence, gender, date of birth, up to four household members and their dates of birth, and up to ten neighbors and their names and addresses. The sources of information . . . include telephone directories, the U.S. Postal Service's change of address file, direct marketing records, publishers' address files, driver's license files, voter registration records, birth and wedding announcements, etc." The author acknowledges that "many . . . feel somewhat unsettled" about her accounts, and that "Others are uneasy about increasing availability of private information about their personal lives." But, she argues, "this information has always been available." I know that commercial credit-reporting firms, such as TRW, must make individuals' files available to them for inspection and correction. Do such laws apply to database services such as Information America as well? Do any states provide individuals with rights concerning the commercial use of personal information identified with them? (In the case of credit services, you usually sign away any privacy rights when you apply for credit, but I wasn't aware that subscribing to a magazine resulted in the same forfeiture.) Are there any other services such as this that provide comprehensive access to a wide range of personal information about private citizens? Jan Wolitzky, AT&T Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ; 908 582-2998, email@example.com ------------------------------ End of PRIVACY Forum Digest 01.24 ************************
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