TUCoPS :: Privacy :: priv_413.txt

Privacy Digest 4.13 6/17/95

PRIVACY Forum Digest     Saturday, 17 June 1995     Volume 04 : Issue 13

            Moderated by Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com)         
              Vortex Technology, Woodland Hills, CA, U.S.A.
                       ===== PRIVACY FORUM =====              

   	  The PRIVACY Forum digest is supported in part by the 
	      ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy,
     		     and the Data Services Division 
	           of MCI Communications Corporation.

	Senate Passes Telecom Reform Act 
	   (Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator)
	Why can't I see Equifax medical records? (Jay Ashworth)
	Comedy Central's UID and Password Shown on TV 
	   (Dr. Frederick B. Cohen)
	Re: Thermal Imagery Used To Search Homes (Leif Bennett)
	Real X-Ray vision coming to an airport or courthouse near you?
           (Curt Bramblett)
	Whether one uses tobacco not a privacy issue in Florida
           (Curt Bramblett)
	Re: Thermal Imagery Used To Search Homes (Phil Brown)
	Conference Announcement: Telemedicine and the Law, July 13th - 14th
           (Bill Halverson)
	Privacy Conference (WLRGSH@ritvax.isc.rit.edu)

 *** Please include a RELEVANT "Subject:" line on all submissions! ***
            *** Submissions without them may be ignored! ***

The Internet 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@vortex.com" and must have
RELEVANT "Subject:" lines; submissions without appropriate and relevant
"Subject:" lines may be ignored.  Excessive "signatures" on submissions are
subject to editing.  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@vortex.com".  Mailing list problems should be reported to

All messages included in this digest represent the views of their
individual authors and all messages submitted must be appropriate 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 "ftp.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.  All PRIVACY Forum materials are available
through the Internet Gopher system via a gopher server on site
"gopher.vortex.com".  Access to PRIVACY Forum materials is also available
through the Internet World Wide Web (WWW) via the Vortex Technology WWW 
server at the URL: "http://www.vortex.com".


   Quote for the day:

	"We must burn the books, Montag.  *All* the books!"

			-- The Captain (Cyril Cusack)
			   "Fahrenheit 451" (1966)


Date:    Sat, 17 Jun 95 12:10 PDT
From:    lauren@vortex.com (Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator)
Subject: Senate Passes Telecom Reform Act

Greetings.  On June 15, the U.S. Senate passed a Telecommunications
Reform/Deregulation act, which, if enacted into law, would have far-reaching
effects not only on Americans but by extension throughout much of the
world.  Unfortunately, many of these impacts would be decidedly negative,
and indicate that mechanisms within Congress remain unable to deal with
highly technical matters in a very logical manner.

Similar enough events have occurred in the relatively recent past.  Airline
deregulation was supposed to increase choices to consumers--in fact the
result has been massive consolidation among a few very large companies and
wide ticket price and service availability aberrations.  Congress insisted
on massive funding of SDI while most reputable scientists--even many working
on SDI-related projects, insisted that it was an impossible dream as drafted.
When technical realities didn't mesh with political goals, the technical
realities were pushed as far into the background as possible.

And now we have telecom "reform".  While supposedly enhancing competition,
it appears more likely that it will result in the same sort of consolidation
that occurred with the airline industry, with a resulting *reduction* of
actual, *practical* choices for most ordinary consumers.  It also
deregulates areas (such as cable television) before any practical
competition really exists.  Consumers have a right to be very concerned
about the prospects.

While the bill seems to be a deregulation giveaway in most respects, it is a
regulatory bonanza for those who would regulate speech.  The latest revision
of Senator Exon's "Communications Decency Act" is incorporated into the
bill, as is "V-chip" regulation to supposedly control access to "violent" TV
programming by children.  (One can't help but wonder if "Roadrunner"
cartoons will fall into this net?  Or the evening news?)

The act introduces a wide range of speech prohibitions and onerous penalties
to online services and the Internet, both of which have become the latest
"whipping boys" of political opportunity as of late.  Many of these
prohibitions do *not* exist for other forms of communications (e.g. books).
The online services and Internet apparently have become the target for
special treatment as particular evils.

By attempting to control such speech categories as "annoying", and
"indecent", in addition to "obscene", the provisions of the act appear to
fly squarely in the face of Constitutional protections and Supreme Court
decisions.  While it's clear that obscene speech is not protected (though how
to reasonably apply the "community standards" tests in global computer
networks without resulting in a "lowest common denominator" approach is
unclear), these other forms of speech are a different matter.

To be fair, when reading the actual text of the Exon portion of the bill,
it's pretty obvious what the goals were--some of which are indeed laudable.
It's also clear that as written significant parts of it are unwise, unworkable,
and, I suspect, unconstitutional.  

As I've expressed here before, there is general agreement that there
needs to be responsibility in material made available via network
systems, as via other media.  Parents need to begin taking responsibility
for how their children spend their time.  Reasonable mechanisms need
to be provided so parents can limit those areas that their children
should be permitted to access.  

But we should not allow the computer networks, or the rest of media for
that matter, to become micro-managed, lowest common denominator 
information guardians, being used as convenient scapegoats for all
the ills of society that we as a people don't seem to have the will
to address at a core level.

While I'm not always in agreement with the Electronic Frontier Foundation
(EFF), I find myself in essential agreement with them as regards
this issue and the current Senate act.  You can obtain detailed
analysis and action materials from EFF regarding this matter as it
moves to the House of Representatives.  You can contact EFF via:

--- --- --- 

Web Sites

FTP Archives

Gopher Archives:

        vtw@vtw.org (put "send help" in the subject line)
        cda-info@cdt.org (General CDA information)
        cda-stat@cdt.org (Current status of the CDA)

--- --- --- 



Date:    Sat, 3 Jun 1995 11:09:42 -0400
From:    jra@baylink.com (Jay Ashworth)
Subject: Why can't I see Equifax medical records?

G Martin <gmartin@freenet.columbus.oh.us> writes, in v4/12:
> We recently received notice that interest on our charge card was going
> from 17% to 24%.  A form enclosed with the notice said something
> interesting that I'm hoping some of you can help us to understand.  Here
> is an exceprt from what it said:
[ . . . ]
> You have the right to a full disclosure of the nature and substance of all
> information (except medical) in the agency's files.  Should you desire to
> obtain additional information pertaining to this file, please contact the
> consumer credit reporting agency directly.

I'll tackle this one, based on information from a friend who used to be a
credit approval person for Jewelers Financial Services, the credit
division of Zale's corporation.

He told me that there was a general convention in the credit business that
medical creditors _only_ looked at your _medical_ credit entries, and that
all other types of creditors customarily _ignored_ your medical credit;
there's (according to him) a kind of Chinese Wall between the two sides of
the house.  I suspect that may be what they are trying (so inartfully, to
steal a _great_ word) to say.

We'd all, I'm sure, be interested to know if this is really the answer,

-- jra


Date:    Sun, 4 Jun 1995 17:16:31 -0400 (EDT)
From:    fc@all.net (Dr. Frederick B. Cohen)
Subject: Comedy Central's UID and Password Shown on TV

In a classic move, Comedy Central (the all comedy cable channel)
annouced their World Wide Web site on the air (comcentral.com)
and provided the world with a user ID and password.

	The obvious question - Why bother to have a user ID and password
when you announce it on national TV? Naturally the UID and password were
closely related English dictionary words related to comedy central's
theme - but what the heck - if you're going to announce it on national
TV, why bother making it strong anyway.


Date:    Tue, 6 Jun 1995 09:18:53 PDT
From:    LBennett.El_Segundo@xerox.com
Subject: Re: Thermal Imagery Used To Search Homes

If memory (from 1987) serves, case law on the 4th Amendment holds that
unaided perception from outside the premises does not require a warrant,
but that aided perception may.  I do not have the citation handy, but I
believe the case involved a helicopter-based search of a back yard,
in which binoculars were used to inspect for the presence of marijuana
plants.  The court held that this was an illegal search, as the
presence of the illegal plants could not be percieved without
mechanical aid, and that the back yard was fenced well enough to have
an expectation of privacy.

I believe a subsequent case established that confirming the results
of unaided perception with mechanical aids was NOT a protected search.
The explanation I remember was that if a LE agent observes a crime
without engaging in an illegal search, forms the opinion that it is
a crime, and then uses mechanical aids to confirm his unaided
observations, no illegal search has occurred.

Either of these may have been judged under California's laws, and not
U.S. law.  I saw the citations in a 1987 version of a publication of
California's POST Commission, whose title contained the words "Legal
Sourcebook;" the publication covered both US and California law.

I am not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV...)  This is from memory.
If the accuracy or legal correctness of this matters to you, please
consult a more authoratative source.

Leif Bennett


Date:    Wed, 7 Jun 1995 07:02:48 -0400
From:    zzbramblettc@acad.winthrop.edu (CURT BRAMBLETT)
Subject: Real X-Ray vision coming to an airport or courthouse near you?

In an article attributed to _The New York Times_ (_The State_
(Columbia SC), May 12, 1995), a Department of Energy laboratory
reports development of a radar-based security device that can peer
through someone's clothing. The scanners would be used to inspect
a person's body for concealed weapons and explosives.

Engineers at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland WA have
developed working prototypes of these holographic radar scanners.
Personal modesty is not an issue. Both a walk-in booth that can
scan an entire body and a hand-held device use ultra-wideband radar
technology. The result is displayed on tiny video monitors built
into the operator's glasses.

The high-frequency radar reveals only anatomical details larger
than one-half inch, but such resolution easily distinguishes
between male and female anatomy. Unlike conventional metal
detectors, the radar scanners can look for concealed nonmetallic
objects, such as nonmetallic bombs and explosives and carbon-fiber

A leader of the project said that "the relatively high price of
such devices may already be acceptable for some applications." But
an ACLU spokesman said he doubted that Americans would stand for
it. The laboratory acknowledge that some airline passengers,
jurors, federal office workers and others subjected to radar
scanning might be offended.

	[ Wow.  *Real* "X-Ray Specs"!  And they said you can't
	  learn anything important from comic books...  -- MODERATOR ]


Date:    Wed, 7 Jun 1995 07:03:29 -0400
From:    zzbramblettc@acad.winthrop.edu (CURT BRAMBLETT)
Subject: Whether one uses tobacco not a privacy issue in Florida

A City in Florida is within the law when it asks prospective
employees to sign an affidavit that they have not used tobacco
products for at least a year. The information is in James
Kilpatrick's column for June 6, 1995 (_The State_ (Columbia SC))

The Florida Constitution includes this provision: "Every natural
person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental
intrusion into his private life..." The City of North Miami asks
applicants to sign the affidavit but does not prohibit current
employees from smoking. The court says that smokers should be used
to having to declare themselves, such as in restaurants or hotels,
and therefore should have no expectation of privacy regarding that
information. Dissenting justices expressed concern that other
questions that could be inferred from the affidavit's rationale
could cross the constitutional line.


Date:    Wed, 7 Jun 1995 17:09:53 -0400
From:    "Brown, Phil" <pbrown@GTEMC.sprint.com>
Subject: Re: Thermal Imagery Used To Search Homes

In Privacy 4.12, Padgett Peterson wrote
>If one is walking down a street and overhears a conversation through a
>window, is that "search"? If I need my hearing aids to do so, is that
>different?  If using my hearing aids I detect a passenger on an airplane
>using a computer in violation of regs, is that? (Computers have a
>characteristic whine when I am set to inductive pickup - assuming of course
>that I could hear it though all that 400 hz noise).
>The question being, if the average person is deaf/blind/stupid to a certain
>portion of the spectrum, do they have the "right" to expect that everyone 


>So no, I do not think that detection of radiant energy is an illegal search
>any more than listening to speech through a window from a sidewalk is so
>long as trespass is not required to do so. Impolite maybe, but not illegal.
>To me "freedom of speech" and "freedom of assembly" must imply "freedom to
>listen" and those are "rights" in this country.

No, that is not the only question.  Intent is also a factor, especially
when considering actions of government agents.  While there isn't a
practical difference betweeen passing by a window and overhearing a
conversation and standing under that window for hours *hoping* to overhear
a conversation (the conversation, or "radiant emission" as Padgett puts it,
is overheard either way), the intent *is* different.  Similarly, monitoring
a structure for thermal emissions once due cause has been established is
quite reasonable, but conducting random infrared "sweeps" is every bit as
chilling in its privacy implications as random wiretaps would be.

Of course, based on my limited information about the source post I really
don't know if this debate is about arbitrary use of thermal imaging or if
a claim is being made that any use of the technique constitutes an illegal

Padgett also raises (indirectly) an interesting point about communication
and privacy expectations;  namely, that information about us and our
activities is conveyed in many ways beyond what we say and write and can
be observed doing.  Our "fingerprints" exist as energy in many forms;
how much of existing social (and legal) custom should be extended to forms
of information gathering only recently practicable?  Padgett seems to take
what I regard as a rather Darwinian view that we are responsible for
anything we emit anywhere and must live with the consequences if we don't
take preventive action.  While that's true in a strictly survivalist
sense (scenes from the Schwarzenegger movie "Predator" come to mind),
I'm not sure I like the idea of modelling society in that fashion.  Just
a thought...

Phil Brown | Atlanta, GA, USA


Date:    Sat, 10 Jun 1995 09:02:42 -0700
From:    Bill Halverson <wjhalv1@PacBell.COM>
Subject: Conference Announcement: Telemedicine and the Law, July 13th - 14th

A Landmark Conference: Resolving the Legal, Ethical and
Policy Challenges to Medical Information Technology 

WHEN:           July 13-14, 1995                  
LOCATION:       Pasadena Center, Pasadena, CA
REGISTRATION:   (303) 572-5490
CONFERENCE FEE: $695.00 (RECEIVED by 6-20)
                $795.00 (RECEIVED after 6-20)
                        (MC/VISA welcome)
NOTE:           Seating limited to 250

Judge Alex Kozinski     - U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Don Beers, Esq.         - Arnold & Porter
Philip Burgess, PhD.    - Center for the New West
Troy Eid, Esq.          - NIIT & Center for the New West
Phyllis Granade, Esq.   - Medical College of Georgia/Center for           
Matthew Heartney, Esq.  - Arnold & Porter
Kiki Pound              - Pacific Bell, Health Care Market Group
Sam Romeo, M.D.         - University of Southern California, School       
                          of Medicine
Leslie Sandberg         - Center for the New West
Jay Sanders,M.D.        - Medical College of Georgia/Center for
Art Schiller            - Arthur D. Little & Value Creation Strategies
Cary Sherman, Esq.      - Arnold & Porter 
Robert Shives, Jr.,Esq. - Pacific Bell, Health Care Market Group
Adele Waller, Esq.      - Gardner, Carton & Douglas,Chicago,IL
Honorable Pete Wilson   - Governor of California (Invited)

You may request information electronically by sending the following info 


                    (No partial responses accepted.)

* Full Name                             * Telephone Number
* Title                                 * Fax Number
* Company, Organization, Firm           * Email Address 
* Complete Mailing Address              * Internet Address

Sponsored by the Center for the New West and ARNOLD & PORTER, in
conjunction with the University of Southern California School of
Medicine, Pacific Bell and the National Information
Infrastructure Testbed (NIIT). 

This activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal 
Education by the State Bar of California in the amount of 15 hours;
ARNOLD & PORTER certifies that this activity conforms to the standards
for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and
regulations of the State Bar of California govern- ing minimum
legal education. 

Leslie Sandberg, Executive Director of the Institute for Telemedicine
PH:  3035725477  Center for the New West  EMail:las@minnesong.win.net


Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 1995 08:27:00 -0400 (EDT)
From:    WLRGSH@ritvax.isc.rit.edu
Subject: Privacy Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS for a Conference on Technological Assaults on
Privacy, April 18-20, 1996 at the Rochester Institute of Technol-
ogy, Rochester, New York.  We are interested in a wide variety of
issues regarding privacy that have arisen from recent technologi-
cal advances--the capacity to eavesdrop, the debate regarding the
Clipperchip, the capacity to create profiles of individuals for
marketing purposes, and so on.  Our concern is that we have a
wide-ranging look at the state of assaults on privacy currently,
in all its manifestations in our lives.  

The Conference will be interdisciplinary.  Participants will have
30 minutes to give their presentation, with comments and discus-
sion for another 30 to 40 minutes.  Papers will be available for
the audience.  

Papers should be single-spaced, suitable for xeroxing.  Please
send a copy of your paper to Prof. Wade Robison, Department of
Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
14623.  Drafts should be postmarked by February 1, 1996.  For
additional information, contact Prof. Robison by e-mail at
privacy@rit.edu, by FAX at (716) 475-7120, or by phone at (716)
475-6643.  If you are interested in commenting or chairing a
session, you should contact Prof. Robison.


End of PRIVACY Forum Digest 04.13

TUCoPS is optimized to look best in Firefox® on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986-2024 AOH