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Online Clearinghouse Offers To Defend Privacy

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the slaying-the-facebook-dragon dept.

Privacy 30

jfruhlinger writes "Privacy may have become a hot-button issue in the Internet age, but the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has been fighting against corporate privacy violations for 20 years now. Today, they've launched an online complaint center that will hopefully help keep your private data private. Fill out the online form and the PRC will follow up with the privacy compliance officer at the company in question, or investigate whether a complaint to a government agency is in order."

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Did my first reporting (-1, Flamebait)

Informative1 (2544866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574932)

I reported Microsoft because they keep bundling IE with Windows, which causes several privacy issues. They're convicted monopoly, too.

If anyone wants to join the effort, please do!

Re:Did my first reporting (3, Funny)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575172)

Holy shit, dude, are you dredging up stories from two Presidents ago? It is long past time for you to update your tropes. Next thing, you'll talk about how Duke Nukem Forever will never be released.

Re:Did my first reporting (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575956)

I still wish it had not been released.

Re:Did my first reporting (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575986)

Does it count if we go on and on about how we WISH Duke Nukem Forever had never been released?

Re:Did my first reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575460)

First off, you can't be "convicted monopoly" [sic], as being a monopoly is not a crime in and of itself. Microsoft was found in violation of antitrust laws and have since made all changes required of them by the various governments involved, including not bundling IE by default in the EU. That said, the bundling of IE has absolutely nothing to do with privacy, if you have privacy issues with IE they are independent of the fact that it is bundled, and should be reported as such. Also, as Myopic has already pointed out, you are literally over a decade late.

So, in summary, thanks for being the reason that this (and anything else good on the internet) will never work. You are the weight tied to the ankles of our species.

Re:Did my first reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38576110)

After Insightful [slashdot.org] and Interesting [slashdot.org] comes Informative (is Funny next? Is SharkLaser [slashdot.org] still alive?) continuing tradition of "first post right as article published". Strangely, this time it's anti-MS, not anti-Google.

Are you a separate troll or are you the part of same sock-puppet just throwing some chaff? Because you're gonna get mod-bombed now despite "Slashdot being definitely populated by MS bashers".

Funded by? (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574986)

It would be hilarious if they were funded by selling your privacy report data for marketing purposes.

Re:Funded by? (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575126)

As best as I can trace their history, it looks like they come from the generic consumer-advocacy nonprofit space. I believe they were set up in the 1990s as a project of the Utility Consumers' Action Network [ucan.org] , a San-Diego-based organization that mainly distributes information about utility services to the general public, as well as advocating for public-friendly policies. One of the utilities they traditionally monitored were the phone companies, and with the rise of the internet in the 1990s, they started collecting and distributing information about ISPs, and more generally some information about how to use the internet without getting scammed/etc. Seems to have later spun off into an independent or semi-independent group.

Re:Funded by? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575940)

Trepidity is correct. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) is a program of the Utility Consumer's Action Network (UCAN). UCAN is a 501-c-3 nonprofit, which means we get our funding from donations and grants. Beth Givens is our founder and director: http://www.privacyrights.org/about_us.htm#staff. We do not sell consumer data. Our privacy policy is at http://www.privacyrights.org/policy.htm.

Re:Funded by? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575278)

Please enter you SSN, last 3 home addresses, DOB, mothers middle name and your income in the form below and we will protect it.

Naming fail? (5, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575002)

I'm not really sure that I would trust the PRC to keep my private information private, I mean the Chinese government isn't exactly known for respect of the individual.

Re:Naming fail? (1)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575056)

i wouldn't trust a company that wasn't willing to stand toe-to-toe with the chinese government.

Re:Naming fail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575778)

--WHOOSH--

Re:Naming fail? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575066)

Lol, if your in China and your concerned about privacy, you need to move, then again I doubt you are, so why worry?

Re:Naming fail? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575194)

Yep. Most unfortunate acronym ever.

Re:Naming fail? (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38576168)

Isn't the Publisher's Rights Clearinghouse run by Ed McMahon?

My complaint (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575058)

I was going to file a complaint against every website on the internet that requires a "registration" in order to use the fucking thing and then I clicked on the online form [privacyrights.org] link and decided against it.

When you collect information on people, it will be abused. Somehow, someday, somewhere ... some entity, usually corporate, will get a hold of it and use it to your detriment. The entire credit industry is a perfect example of this. And they spawned the corporate Big Brother, ChoicePoint, that our government uses to spy on Americans to get around that pesky Constitution and the "activist" judiciary.

Another example is the health insurance industry. Get prescribed an anti-depressant for any reason you become uninsurable. How do they know? Pharmacies share all that data about your prescriptions with the insurance companies, among others.

Goddamn them all.

Re:My complaint (5, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575826)

I was going to file a complaint against every website on the internet that requires a "registration" in order to use the fucking thing and then I clicked on the online form [privacyrights.org] link and decided against it.

In bold text on that page: "You do not have to register to file a complaint."

consistency of action and voice (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575170)

Does anyone actually care about privacy any more? I do, but I also act to preserve mine.

As far as I can tell, 99.9% of the population does not care one whit. They'll cheerfully give all their private data to Facebook to sell to whoever wants it. They'll let google track their entire online presence and behavior through google analytics (or facebook through the "like" button). They'll load adverts and run javascripts from web pages that track them. They'll use supermarket tracking/discount cards. They won't encrypt their emails and IMs. They'll give all their personal data to a big telecom in exchange for a few hundred dollars/euros off a phone. They'll collectively push the internet away from its former open and anarchistic nature into proprietary, censorable for-profit communications like Twitter/FB, letting a few companies know everything about everybody. Sure, some few of ppls *claim* they value privacy, but you can tell what a person really thinks by their actions not their words. And the actions are clear: they are cheerfully willing to give up their privacy in exchange for a little convenience.

You use FB? You don't care about your privacy. You have a contract phone? You don't care about your privacy. You don't HAVE to have one, but you decided not to support the alternatives such as anonymous prepaid phones.

Almost nobody cares about privacy. That's the only conclusion one can make by watching their behaviors. And as long as almost nobody cares, the war to retain privacy can only be lost.

Re:consistency of action and voice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575618)

> anonymous prepaid phones

Which gets harder and harder to do, because legal and market barriers are raised. But that is not independent of the fact that nobody went that direction. If (say) 80% of the market naturally bought anonymous prepaid SIMs instead of carrier locked plans, it would be "normal" and the market would be catering to it instead of trying to kill it.

Is it even possible any more to activate a prepaid SIM anonymously?

Re:consistency of action and voice (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575860)

I agree... kind of. But otoh, I think you are being a bit overzealous in your claims.

I use facebook - but I do not post anything and everything to my facebook. And even though my facebook is "friends only" I only really post stuff to facebook that I would not care if it were 100% public.

For example, I do not share my daily schedule with facebook. I do not post my financials or mortgage information. I do not post floor plans of my home, my property size or value. I do not post my private medical records, what prescriptions i may take, what cell phone plan I have, where i use my phone the most. I do not regularly "check in" to locations to share where I am, and I do not constantly share everything I read on slashdot, or elsewhere.

The implication that use of any of the mentioned services, such as facebook, and desire to maintain privacy, are mutually exclusive is bunk, at best.

Re:consistency of action and voice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575982)

I do the same things you outline above, plus:

- don't have my real address and don't have a phone number on FB
- have my setting such that when people tag me in photos I have to approve it (and I don't approve it; I simply go delete the tags).
- I don't post that I am on a trip. I may post something about it afterwards (like "just returned from Seattle, here are a couple of pictures"). But you never want to post that you are away from home currently.

Re:consistency of action and voice (2)

Peristaltic (650487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580044)

... I do not post my financials or mortgage information. I do not post floor plans of my home, my property size or value. I do not post my private medical records, what prescriptions i may take, what cell phone plan I have, where i use my phone the most...

You don't have to. The organizations that purchase information from FB also purchase information from LexisNexis, IMS Health, ChoicePoint, MLS, Equifax etc., then aggregate it. Now they know much of your medical information, what prescriptions you take, what cell phone plan you have, your mortgage information, your property size and it's value. FB is just one cog in the wheel. The organizations that want this information don't single source it. A few pieces of relatively innocuous data posted on FB might have a higher value than you think, when correlated with other information.

Re:consistency of action and voice (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38576014)

Interesting points here... personally, I care about privacy, and yet I'm still guilty of a few of these; no FB, no contract phone, but I use Google DNS and have online accounts tied to devices I own, as well as a bank account and a credit card (and utility bills).

Of course, I guess one thing about privacy is that it's not on/off: privacy is all in shades of gray. Some people don't care if their insurance company knows all about them, as long as they don't give that info to the government. Some people don't care how much the government knows about them as long as they don't give it to the credit agencies. Some people don't care how much the credit agencies know about them as long as they don't tell their employer/spouse/etc....

We've never had complete privacy... one of the things the internet has done is shown us how much privacy we've never had. Of course, it's now significantly easier for anyone anywhere in the world to abuse privacy contracts, which is the real issue here.

Re:consistency of action and voice (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38578552)

Actually, if any of your friends have facebook, you have no privacy either.

Nowadays, it's not so much that if you put it online, it will be forever remembered. It's, if you do it with other people and they are not individually interested in their own privacy, it will be remembered forever.

Re:consistency of action and voice (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581976)

Oh great wise one perhaps you for a second consider those that are less well intellectually endowed as thee, although they might be more well endowed in other areas.

We all have our own skills, abilities and knowledge which we should only use for our own benefit but share with the community at large to improve every one's life who is a part of that community. Once you learn the waters are crocodile infested you do not allow the newcomer or the ignorant to swim in them, your warn them and make effort to prevent them and even attempt to keep the crocodiles at bay.

The same goes with privacy. Once you understand how excessive private knowledge about you can be used to psychological manipulate you, to control your choices and be used against you and thus seek to restrict untrustworthy people's access to it and of especially strangers. You should seek to protect others from their ignorance, try to stop them from foolishly leaping in and work to keep the privacy invasive freaks at bay.

Why is PRC not more proactive? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575374)

I don't see the point of "complaining" to anyone. If PRC is oblivious to Facebook and Google's privacy schisms or NSA/AT&T wiretapping lawsuits, or cell carriers snoopware (carrierIQ) just how effective do we expect them to be? Do they not use google or read the news? Seems like an organization that's been around for that long should have enough experience to be more proactive than "send us an email to report privacy concerns".

Re:Why is PRC not more proactive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575976)

Another potential risk is that if these guys are perceived to be the de facto place to lodge privacy complaints and no one uses them then those individuals/organizations that benefit from accessing your private data can just point to the lack of complaints and say "what privacy concerns?"

China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38576048)

The PRC?
The People's Republic of China?

Beware! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38576892)

Beware the wolf who pretends to be your friend.

A lot of companies already do this, but they turn around a data farm your information themselves. AND get you to pay for it.

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