TUCoPS :: Privacy :: priv_204.txt

Privacy Digest 2.04 1/24/93

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>From: privacy@cv.vortex.com (PRIVACY Forum)
Subject: PRIVACY Forum Digest V02 #04
To: PRIVACY-Forum-List@cv.vortex.com
Status: RO

PRIVACY Forum Digest     Sunday, 24 January 1993     Volume 02 : Issue 04

         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.

	Caller-ID a danger? Not by itself (A. Padgett Peterson)
	The REAL problem with Caller ID (Larry Seiler)
	Re: SSN and new baby, Schools and SSNs (Ed Tripp)
	OECD Guidelines cont'd (Marc Rotenberg)
	IEEE conference (Dr. William J. Kelly)

 *** 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
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The PRIVACY Forum archive, including all issues of the digest and all
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   Quote for the day:

	"Mars is essentially in the same orbit... somewhat the same distance
	 from the sun, which is very important.  We have seen pictures where
	 there are canals, we believe, and water.  If there is water, that
	 means there is oxygen.  If oxygen, that means we can breathe."

          			      -- Former Vice President Dan Quayle


Date:    Sat, 16 Jan 93 21:12:42 -0500
>From:    padgett@tccslr.dnet.mmc.com (A. Padgett Peterson)
Subject: Caller-ID a danger ? Not by itself.

>From:    scott@cs.rochester.edu
>Subject: Op-ed piece on telephone Calling Number ID

>    Unless you act immediately, your name, address, and telephone number are
>about to be added to the marketing lists of a whole new set of telephone soli-
>citors and direct-mail advertisers.  How?  Through the "Call ID" facility
>recently introduced by Rochester Telephone.

First, let me say that I am a firm believer in the potential of Caller-ID
to be an invisible layer of access control to computer systems.

Given that, my feeling is that the controversy centers around two, not one,

1) Captured CNID information can be stored electronically.
2) Once stored, the CNID can be used to extract information from public
   databases that the caller might prefer not to be disclosed.

What is not commonly appreciated is that element (1) is available in the
form of ANI on any number of common business calls to anyone with the
proper service (e.g. 800 and 900 area code calls). The difference between
this and Caller-ID (CNID) is the cost threshold.

Given that the information is already available for (1), the answer would 
to be the amount of information derived in (2). True, reverse phone books
provide additional information, but all is based on the information provided
by the telco. There are many areas/exchanges which, by the virue of being
small, do not have reverse directories available (I used to live in one in

Further, even where reverse directories are available, they are based on
the information provided electronically (for a fee) by the telco. There
are any number of ways to prevent dissemination of this.

The two best known are touted as extra cost "features" by the Telco -
unpublished and unlisted numbers. There is a third means that may be
used at no cost however. Simply specify that only the name of the person
having that number be listed (e.g. direct that no address or only the
city be listed). There is nothing in the tarrifs that requires
street addresses to be listed in the phone book and several compelling 
reasons why individual safety would dictate not - but few people ever take 
advantage of this. 

The important thing to remember is that the subscriber does have  some 
control over *what* is listed, and this is what is reported to outside

Meanwhile, I have Caller-ID at home and my personal dislike is that finding
out before installation what numbers you can receive and which will 
report "out-of-area" is like pulling teeth. Fully a third of the local 
calls received report this including those that originate from a subdivision 
less than five miles from my home (and I have been assured that the callers
did not block CNID), yet there is no discount for such "partial" service
(*all* of the calls received today were "out-of-area"). IMHO, until it is 
nationwide, it will not be really effective (expect it in under two years).


		[ One important distinction between CNID and 800 number ANI
		  is that in the latter case the person being *called* is
		  paying for the call--essentially it is a collect call.
		  Clearly some mechanism must exist for the entity paying
		  for these calls to track use and/or abuse of their
		  resources.  This is a different situation than CNID, where
		  the person *making* the call is the one normally paying
		  for the call, but the person receiving the call 
		  still wants to know the number of the person 
		  calling. -- MODERATOR ]


Date:    Tue, 19 Jan 93 15:53:57 EST
>From:    "Larry Seiler, x223-0588, MLO5-2  19-Jan-1993 1515" 
Subject: The REAL problem with Caller ID

As noted by Michael Scott in digest #03, Caller ID is almost exclusively
a marketing tool.  At one time I thought it had value for finding the
identity of nuiscance callers, but that can now be easily accomplished by 
the phone company at their offices -- CNID isn't necessary.

However, I feel that it is important understand that the real privacy
problem of CNID is NOT the fact that businesses can know who is calling them.
In most cases, I don't think people expect to be anonymous to the companies
they do business with.  I do think that most people feel it is nobody else's 
business who they choose to do business with.

So the privacy problem comes from the compilation and sale of databases 
of that information -- plus inferences drawn from the caller information.
CNID facilitates invasions of privacy on a broader scale than before,
because it makes it easier to gather the data.  But it is what is done
with the data that violates privacy -- not (usually) its collection.

This is an important distinction.  CNID is just a tool.  We should fight to
limit CNID on privacy grounds, since it is such an effective tool.  But the
real fight is to outlaw the distribution of personal data except with the 
permission of the people about whom the data was collected.  



Date:    Sun, 17 Jan 93 00:18 EST
>From:    et@tdslab.cmhnet.org (Ed Tripp)
Subject: Re: SSN and new baby, Schools and SSNs

I have to respond to the assumption being made that the IRS can finally
force the registration of all children in this country or deny the valid
tax exemptions for them.

My three children were all born at home, in the same bed, with the assistance
of midwives.  I filed the birth certificates and at least one of them has me
as the only witness to the birth.  My children have no SSNs and they will not
have them until they are working and registered for Social Security tax
purposes.  The original law requiring registration of children of ages 5 and
up was put through as a way to control AFDC fraud.  A rider on a bill two
years (I think) later changed the age to 2 and was written so as to be
essentially invisible to the reader.  The whole statement was one line
amending "5" to "2" in a referenced paragraph in another document (the
original bill).

I first encountered these laws when the bank demanded SSNs to avoid backup
withholding from my children's bank accounts.  I opened an account with $100
for each one at birth the same way my parents had done for me.  The idea was
to encourage saving.  Since the amount involved was so small, I let the bank
take the tax as a necessary expense of freedom.  The next demand came in the
form of a statement that a $50 penalty could be assessed for not having the
numbers.  I closed the accounts, bought savings bonds for the kids, and made
sure the the bank knew exactly why.  This kind of nonsense only survives when
people don't care enough to do anything about it.

About that time, the tax forms started requiring the numbers for dependents
or a statement that they had been requested.  I wrote numerous letters to
Congress and the ACLU on the issue.  The ACLU is actively pursuing this issue
with respect to privacy concerns.  I got a letter from Jesse Helms stating
that he had never realized what the Congress had passed when the registration
requirement was passed and he "would look into it".  As for the tax returns,
every year I file with "no numbers - see attachment" written across the area
reserved for the SSNs.  Each year, I give the government a new set of copies
of my childrens' birth certificates.  Those are public record and I don't
mind them having them or having to deal with them.

Given the incredible abuse of the SSN by American businesses and government
agencies at all levels I can clearly state that it will be a cold day in hell
before I give in on this issue.  I should also note that my two oldest
children are in the public school system here (Upper Arlington, Ohio).  As
far as I know, they are the only two in the entire system who do not have
SSNs.  When the school office called me about the missing number on my
daughter's registration and I replied that she did not have one and would
not have one, the reply was "Oh yes, you're the one".  They remembered the
encounter when my oldest son was enrolled.  This time there was no further
discussion.  In fact, the only thing the woman I was talking to could think
of that required a number for the schools was requests for copies of high
school transcripts.  I assume my children will have them legitimately by then.

I would be interested in feedback from anyone who knows whether the material
I am including below is still relevant to this issue.  When I read it, it
appeared that I had actually been exceeding what was necessary to keep the
IRS off my back.  However, that may have changed recently given the efforts
of a number of people to establish a "New World Order" for everyone inside
and outside of this country.  This is excerpted from a file available at
eff.org and I assume a number of other sites:


Archive-Name: ssn-privacy

       What to do when they ask for your Social Security Number

                           by Chris Hibbert

                        Computer Professionals
                      for Social Responsibility

		--------- much deleted material ---------


The Family Support Act of 1988 (42 USC 1305, 607, and 602) apparently
requires states to require parents to give their Social Security Numbers in
order to get a birth certificate issued for a newborn.  The law allows the
requirement to be waived for "good cause", but there's no indication of what
may qualify.

The IRS requires taxpayers to report SSNs for dependents over one year of
age, but the requirement can be avoided if you're prepared to document the
existence of the child by other means if challenged.  The law on this can be
found at 26 USC 6109.


By the way, I am a computer "professional" if that term means that I make
my living teaching about, designing, building, programming, and otherwise
being obsessed with computers.  Computers are tools.  They can be used for
great good and great evil.  My determination to fight the use of the SSN
as a universal identifier has to do with avoiding the latter.  And no, I
do not trust my government on this issue since abuses of intelligence
and police powers are commonplace events and commercial use of the SSN
is totally uncontrolled in spite of the often repeated desire of Congress
to avoid the creation of a "national identity number".

Ed Tripp (et@tdslab.cmhnet.org)


Date:    Mon, 18 Jan 1993 15:16:10 EST    
>From:    Marc Rotenberg <Marc_Rotenberg@washofc.cpsr.org>
Subject: OECD Guidelines cont'd 

Padget Peterson makes a good point in Privacy Forum Vol. 2, Issue 3.  The
character of vulnerabilies has changed.  Failure is more difficult to
localize in networked environments.  Look at the recent problems with the
phone network or the Cornell Worm.

It is important to point out that the words Padget quotes ("Society has
become very dependent on technologies that are not yet sufficiently
dependable") are from the OECD press release and not from CPSR.  We are
generally more skeptical about the prospects for absolute dependability.

Still, openness in design in important.  The OECD expert group tried to
address this concern with the "Awareness Principle" which states

        "In order to foster confidence in information systems, owners,
providers and users of information systems and other parties should readily
be able, consistent with maintaining security, to gain appropriate knowledge
of and be informed about the existence and general extent of measures,
practices and procedures for the security of information systems.  However,
I disagree with one point in Padgett's note.  Openness in design does not
come at a cost in privacy.  In some circumstances, just the opposite is

The principle could have been stated less ambiguously, but the idea is there.

I disagree with one point in Padget's note.  Openness does not necessarily
lead to a trade off with personal privacy.  In many circumstances, the
opposite is true.

Consider the FBI's digital telephony proposal which would facilitate
wiretapping of the communications network.  CPSR has pushed the FBI through
the Freedom of Information Act to be more forthcoming about the technical
issues surrounding wire surveillance.  The FBI is reluctant to provide the
information, even though the General Service Administration has now sent us
a document which said that the proposal would "make it easier for criminals,
terrorists, foreign intelligence and computer hackers to electronically
penetrate the phone network and pry into areas not previously open to

Privacy is not secrecy.

Marc Rotenberg
CPSR Washington office


Date:    Fri, 22 Jan 1993 14:23:20 EDT
>From:    "Dr. William J. Kelly" <m16805@mwvm.mitre.org>
Subject: IEEE conference

                       CALL FOR PAPERS

   International Symposium on Technology and Society 1993
                         (ISTAS '93)
             Washington DC  October 22-23, 1993
                        on the theme

Technology is constantly changing the our world.  New ways of doing things
bring benefits undreamed-of just a few years ago.  These technologies also
have their price.  The costs can be financial, or increased risks, or a less
pleasant way of life.

How do we balance benefits and costs?  Do those who enjoy the benefits bear
their fair share of the costs?  How can we determine a fair share?  If we
can, and don't like the results, what do we change?  Is the Government
always the best way to change things?  ISTAS '93 will explore these and
related questions, concentrating on three exemplary areas of technology:

                Computers and Communications
                       Health Care
               Energy and the Environment

ISTAS '93 invites significant contributions on these issues from a wide
spectrum of scholarly and concerned individuals.  The contributions can be
papers, proposals for a session or panel of invited experts, or proposals
for "poster" or discussion sessions.  Please send an extended (two page)
abstract for papers or a two page proposal for sessions, to

                      the General Chair
                    Dr. William J. Kelly
                          Attn IEEE
                      MITRE Corporation
                     7525 Colshire Drive
                      McLean, VA 22102

           DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION:      FEBRUARY 28, 1993
           Notification of Acceptance:   March 31, 1993
           Camera Ready Copy:            June 30, 1993

In the tradition of the Carnahan Conferences Technics: A Delicate Balance"
in Los Angeles 1989 "Preparing for a Sustainable Society" in.Toronto1991
ISTAS '93 invites contributors from many disciplines to illuminate the
problems and choices that face us all.


End of PRIVACY Forum Digest 02.04

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