TUCoPS :: Privacy :: priv_710.txt

Privacy Digest 7.10 5/21/98

The following document is from the PRIVACY Forum Archive at 
Vortex Technology, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

For direct web access to the PRIVACY Forum and PRIVACY Forum Radio,
including detailed information, archives, keyword searching, and 
related facilities, please visit the PRIVACY Forum via the web URL:



PRIVACY Forum Digest      Thursday, 21 May 1998      Volume 07 : Issue 10

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

                 The PRIVACY Forum is supported in part by
                    the ACM (Association for Computing)     
	         Committee on Computers and Public Policy,      
          "internetMCI" (a service of the Data Services Division         
                  of MCI Telecommunications Corporation), 
	  	  Cisco Systems, Inc., and Telos Systems.
                                 - - -
             These organizations do not operate or control the     
          PRIVACY Forum in any manner, and their support does not
           imply agreement on their part with nor responsibility   
        for any materials posted on or related to the PRIVACY Forum.

	Sex, Crime, and Banner Ads 
	   (Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator)
	Opt-Out from American Express Marketing
	   (Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator)
	Public forum regarding personal information privacy
	   (Danielle LeClair)

 *** 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"; full keyword searching of all PRIVACY Forum files
is available via WWW access.


   Quote for the day:

	"He sold his soul for rock n' roll."

		-- "Wolfman Jack" (Robert Weston Smith)
		   Voiceover from the trailer for
		   "Phantom of the Paradise" (Harbor Productions; 1974)


Date:    Thu, 21 May 98 13:31 PDT
From:    lauren@vortex.com (Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator)
Subject: Sex, Crime, and Banner Ads

Greetings.  As the World Wide Web has exploded onto the world in all
directions, the rise of the "banner ad" has been impossible to ignore.
These are the typically rectangular advertisements that pop up in various
locations on many web pages, with the goal of convincing the viewer to
"click-through" to the ads' sponsoring web pages.  Some of these ads are
direct and to the point.  Others are purposely vague, trying to depend on
curiosity to drive the user's mouse clicks.

A variety of different business models exist for banner ads, some more
successful than others.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the
banner ad concept; such ads can be useful and benign revenue producing tools
when presented responsibly.  But what happens when the subject of the ad is
sexually oriented, or promoting a service that is illegal or highly risky
for the viewer to use?

Such appears to be the case with some of the ads presented by DoubleClick
Inc. of New York City, one of the net's largest banner ad firms.  Their ads
are displayed at a very broad array of sites, including some of the net's
most widely used and highly respected search engines.  Some of DoubleClick's
ads appear on a seemingly random basis, while others are tied to user keyword
information passed to them from the search engines themselves. 

In my discussions with a spokesman for one of the larger web sites using
DoubleClick, Digital Equipment Corporation's "AltaVista" search site, it
appeared that he had no idea what sorts of ads might be presented to
AltaVista users via DoubleClick, and he didn't seem particularly
concerned about the issue.

When search engines use DoubleClick, it is possible for sexually oriented
ads to be returned in response to completely "innocent" search keywords,
simply because those words could potentially be used in a sexual context.
In at least one case reported to me (and easily verified) a search for
religious material returned such ads routinely, due apparently to this sort
of "double-meaning" assumption.  In an era where there are those pushing for
rather draconian Internet censorship, it seems unwise in the extreme to be
supplying such ads where they can be so easily seen by children or others
who might be offended by such materials.  Why play into the hands of the

Even worse is the promotion of activities that might get the user arrested!
A heavy component of DoubleClick's ad inventory appears to be for various
"online casinos."  Most of these seem to be offshore, many on the same
islands which have harbored various phone scams in the past.  Some states
and the federal government have been taking action against U.S. parties who
have become involved with many of these online gambling operations, via an
existing 1961 law against "gambling by phone."  And legislation has been
introduced in Congress that would make the prohibition against most such
online gambling even more explicit.  Legal issues aside, it's foolhardy in
the extreme to provide credit card, checking account, or other payment
information to these shadowy offshore gambling entities, who are not
regulated by any U.S. laws.  Talk about a privacy risk!

No doubt there are all sorts of rationalizations which ad brokers might
bring forth.  One can appreciate, for example, that they aren't presenting
ads only for one country with one set of laws, and that controlling ads on a
per-country basis would be extremely difficult for any of the non-geographic
domains.  What's illegal in one country may be legal in another.  Some
people object to sexually oriented ads, other folks apparently enjoy them.
And so on.  But would these really be valid excuses for dragging unsuspecting
web users into the gutter with such ads?  I don't think so.

Ultimately, it all seems to boil down to responsibility vs. exploitation.
The future of the net will be decided to a large degree by the manner in
which the various players show respect and consideration of the very public
universe in which they are now operating.  A "take it to the limit" attitude
simply invites the outside imposition of measures which many would consider
to be unnecessary at best, or severely stifling of free speech at worst.  If
the Internet is to reach its full potential free of such detours, the time to
start acting responsibly is now.

By the way, I of course wanted to hear DoubleClick's side of the story.
After a number of attempts, I reached by phone a representative of
DoubleClick.  She informed me that they didn't wish to discuss these issues.

Lauren Weinstein
Moderator, PRIVACY Forum


Date:    Thu, 21 May 98 13:29 PDT
From:    lauren@vortex.com (Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator)
Subject: Opt-Out from American Express Marketing

Greetings.  Following up on the discussion of American Express marketing
plans reported in the previous PRIVACY Forum Digest (V07 #09), I wanted to
let the readership know that American Express has published information
indicating that their customers can choose to use a toll-free number to
"opt-out" from such plans, rather than needing to write in. 

That number is 1-800-297-8378.

Lauren Weinstein
Moderator, PRIVACY Forum


Date:    Wed, 20 May 1998 18:06:34 -0400
From:    "LeClair, Danielle" <Danielle.LeClair@mail.house.gov>
Subject: Public forum regarding personal information privacy


WASHINGTON, May 8, 1998 -- Rep. Jerry Kleczka (D - 4th) will host a
public forum to discuss personal information privacy.  More
specifically, Kleczka and the panelists will share how easily consumers'
Social Security numbers, home addresses, and unlisted telephone numbers
can be purchased by telemarketers, information warehouses, and even
criminals, and what you can do about it.

Personal Information Privacy Forum

Saturday, May 30, 1998
9 a.m.
Shattuck Recital Hall
Carroll College
100 N. East Ave.
Waukesha, Wis. 


Jerry Kleczka, U.S. Congressman
Len Levine, UW-Milwaukee Professor
Jessica Grant, Fraud Victim
Angelita Gauthier, Fraud Victim
Marlin Schneider, State Representative


End of PRIVACY Forum Digest 07.10

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