TUCoPS :: Privacy :: priv_124.txt

Privacy Digest 1.24 11/3/92

PRIVACY Forum Digest     Tuesday, 3 November 1992     Volume 01 : Issue 24

         Moderated by Lauren Weinstein (lauren@cv.vortex.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.

	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 "privacy@cv.vortex.com" 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: "privacy-request@cv.vortex.com".  Mailing list problems should be
reported to "list-maint@cv.vortex.com".  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 privacy-fax@cv.vortex.com, call (310) 455-9300, or FAX
to (310) 455-2364.


   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:    lauren@cv.vortex.com (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

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.



Date:    Mon, 2 Nov 1992 08:20:24 -0500
From:    "(Gary Chapman)" <chapman@silver.lcs.mit.edu>
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

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
The 21st Century Project
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Cambridge, Massachusetts



Date:    Thu, 29 Oct 92 16:49 EST
From:    wolit@mhuxd.att.com
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

  "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, 


End of PRIVACY Forum Digest 01.24

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