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Privacy Resolutions for the New Year

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the every-bit-helps dept.

Privacy 116

Chris Hoofnagle writes "EPIC has released ten privacy resolutions for the New Year. In addition to losing weight next year, lose all those data brokers who are after your bits."

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116 comments

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Paranoia? (1)

vikramrn (832734) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180445)

Some of these are pure common sense...others seem to border on paranoia...

Re:Paranoia? (1)

nkh (750837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180483)

But which ones are paranoia to you? Only the 10th is really paranoid to me, everything else is common sense...

Re:Paranoia? (2, Interesting)

vikramrn (832734) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180552)

IMHO some of these are bordering on paranioa..
  • " Don't return product warranty cards."
    Maybe that will void your warranty?
  • " If you have to use a supermarket shopping card, be sure to exchange it with your friends or with strangers. "
  • " Pay with cash where possible. Electronic transactions leave a detailed dossier of your activities that can be accessed by the government or sold to telemarketers. "

Re:Paranoia? (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180569)

IMHO some of these are bordering on paranioa..

* " Don't return product warranty cards."
Maybe that will void your warranty?

Bull. Go back to the store you purchased your faulty device at and they'll take it back under warranty. No warranty card needed.

* " If you have to use a supermarket shopping card, be sure to exchange it with your friends or with strangers. "

Why not? If nothing else, you'll help your friends/strangers save money and preserve their own personal data, and you'll boost your points rating.

* " Pay with cash where possible. Electronic transactions leave a detailed dossier of your activities that can be accessed by the government or sold to telemarketers. "

Many police cases are solved by following credit card trails. Even the WTC terrorists could have been stopped by following their credit card activities. So I expect you'll say "fine, I'm no criminal! why should I worry?". Well, maybe you'll think about it next time you go buy a bottle of scotch at your local convenience store late at night, and the FBI come banging at your door a week later when it turns out that convenience store was held by Ali Bin Terror and they're arresting and detaining everybody who has been in contact with him, "just in case".

Re:Paranoia? (1)

vikramrn (832734) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180608)

* " If you have to use a supermarket shopping card, be sure to exchange it with your friends or with strangers. "

Why not? If nothing else, you'll help your friends/strangers save money and preserve their own personal data, and you'll boost your points rating.


Here we get coupons with our name on it and it is non-transferable. Although, if you have followed the steps mentioned in the article you wouldn't get the coupon in the first place but that's a different story. Also, if its transferable, how would it be an invasion of privacy as it would have no personal data associated with it anyway?

Well, maybe you'll think about it next time you go buy a bottle of scotch at your local convenience store late at night, and the FBI come banging at your door a week later when it turns out that convenience store was held by Ali Bin Terror and they're arresting and detaining everybody who has been in contact with him, "just in case".

Ok so I go to the convenience store late at night to buy a bottle of scotch with a wad of cash and get mugged. Of course, I can call the credit card company and cancel the card immediately...oh no wait, i cannot.

Re:Paranoia? (2)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181386)


Even the WTC terrorists could have been stopped by following their credit card activities.

Do you really beleive that's true? I don't.

This might be an interesting read. [www.cbc.ca]

Re:Paranoia? (2, Informative)

metricmusic (766303) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180600)

"* " Don't return product warranty cards." Maybe that will void your warranty?" If any Australians re eeading this, it would be illegal for the distributor/manufacturer to not honour their warranty if you haven't sent your warranty card in. A docket is sufficient to gain warranty.

Re:Paranoia? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180697)

Pay with cash where possible. Electronic transactions leave a detailed dossier of your activities that can be accessed by the government or sold to telemarketers. "

So in other words: don't buy anything online... how about no.

Re:Paranoia? (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181521)

There are online shopping sites [amazon.com] that take money orders. In the US, getting a money order is simple enough, head down to the convenience store or your nearest US post office. You can pay for money orders with cash. As for putting in your real name, well, that's not necessary in the web form since you're not paying with a credit card and they don't need it to run the card. As far as your address goes, some copy shops [mbe.com] will receive packages for you and give you a street address. Pay with that for cash, it's not prohibitively expensive. Is it more of a hassle? Yes. Will you still get your product the same as if you paid with a credit card? Yes.

Re:Paranoia? (2, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181448)

" Don't return product warranty cards. Maybe that will void your warranty?"

Nope don't do the warranty card. Do read it, but, 99.9% of the time, it is NOT needed to get your warranty, and it is used for NOTHING more than compiling information on you. I used to work for Acxiom years back...a company in Conway ,AR that has information on about 98% of the people in the US. This was 7 years ago...they are working worldwide now. They told us about the warranty card thing...back then, I looked...most of them were pre-addressed to the same address.

Acxiom, which integrates data from warranty cards, change of address, states that sell drivers license info...and any other source...uses all this to find you. They use this to 'clean' other companies' databases to track you. They sell this info..to pretty much whoever wants it. CC companies, insurance companies...and most all the credit bureaus. Hell, I think they used to have financial ties to Trans Union itself.

One of my last projects there, was to take data they got from ordering telephone books from the states...cutting off the binders, and running them through optical scanners. I was writing code to put it into a relational database to run against the big iron they had there....

So, no, don't be paranoid...but, do be aware...your data...any of it is being used and looked at and sold by someone.

Plausible Deniability Virus (4, Insightful)

hugesmile (587771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180583)

You may think I am crazy, but I wish some virus writer would write a "Plausible Deniability Virus". This virus, when installed, would auto-click "I agree" to any EULA that is displayed on screen. It would automatically distribute and download random MP3's, movies, software, and other copyrighted materials. It would add history of visiting porn sites to your web cache.

Then when your employer, the **AA, Microsoft, the FBI, or your spouse starts complaining about what thet found due to our lack of privacy, you could say "It might have been the PlausDen.A virus - not me!"

Not that I personally want this virus installed on my system... I just want the possibility that I may have had the virus.

Re:Plausible Deniability Virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11181536)

Why is this modded funny? Assuming that the "virus" really did no damage and could be detected by commercial anti-virus software it seems more insightful than funny to me.

Re:Plausible Deniability Virus (1)

fingerfucker (740769) | more than 9 years ago | (#11183333)

Only Slashdot can mod this as "funny". Morons...

another one (0)

OffTheLip (636691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180448)

FBI Witness Protection Program.

Who gives a fucking rat's ass? (1)

Cold Winter Days (772398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180449)

I don't care about "Privacy".

Re:Who gives a fucking rat's ass? (4, Insightful)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180457)

So why isn't your email publically available in Slashdot?

Re:Who gives a fucking rat's ass? (2, Insightful)

Skjie (799104) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180459)

Difference between "not caring" and "inviting disaster"?

Re:Who gives a fucking rat's ass? (3, Insightful)

Cold Winter Days (772398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180495)

You don't seem to understand what it's all about. Publishing my email address here will bring me lots of spam. Nothing more, nothing less. When EPIC and related people say "privacy", they mean collecting personal data, like your buying habits. The threat from this is very different from spam in your inbox. It's a more "philosophical" matter - you don't want a marketer to know what brand of condom you prefer, even if there is no practical consequence. Well, and I say, fuck it, I don't care.

Re:Who gives a fucking rat's ass? (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180555)

you don't want a marketer to know what brand of condom you prefer, even if there is no practical consequence. Well, and I say, fuck it, I don't care.

Dear Sir,

We at Foo Health Insurance have reviewed your personal customer file. It appears you use condoms from the SuperStrong[tm] brand, which is statistically consistent with a promiscuous sex life. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, and to better serve you, we have cross-checked your medical claims file and successfully determined that you have started taking tri-therapies recently. What's more, your credit record seems to indicate that you would be better served by another health insurance company. We therefore regret to inform you that you will no longer be able to enroll in your current plan. Please find enclosed a list of plans you are eligible to.

Regards,
Joe S. Bastard, Foo H.I., Inc.

Re:Who gives a fucking rat's ass? (3, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180542)

Personally, I do care about privacy. Or rather, I would if it was conceivably possible to have any, but as Scott McNealy accurately said back in 1999, there is no privacy, get over it [wired.com] . He's right unfortunately...

Re:Who gives a fucking rat's ass? (2, Interesting)

Secret Agent X23 (760764) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180695)

Personally, I do care about privacy. Or rather, I would if it was conceivably possible to have any, but as Scott McNealy accurately said back in 1999, there is no privacy, get over it. He's right unfortunately...

"These days it's all secrecy, and no privacy..."
Mick Jagger wrote that line in a song called Fingerprint file, in 1974.

EPIC 2014 (5, Interesting)

noamt (317240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180451)

I wonder if EPIC [epic.org] has anything to do with this [robinsloan.com] scary-yet-insightful video-flash movie.

Re:EPIC 2014 (1)

KinkifyTheNation (823618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180455)

How strangely... ironic?

2014 = today? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180521)

EPIC 2014: A total, extremely powerful information resource to some, but at the same time, an endless collection of trivia for others: filtered, edited, much of it untrue.

Very scary-yet-insightful indeed, BUT: This is different from the media landscape we have today, ... ehhh, how?

Re:EPIC 2014 (1)

mwa (26272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180565)

So, how do you nominate something for a Pulitzer?

Re:EPIC 2014 (1)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180655)

hahaha i like that flash. google r teh evil.
the new york times offline - that will be the day
i especially liked "googlezon", and the pseudo-lawrence-fishbourne narrator.

Re:EPIC 2014 (2, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180790)


I'd like to be the first here to say that flash movie was not insightful, and the only thing scary about it is that they managed to find someone who could recite that cheezy monologue without busting out laughing. "No, try it again.. This time make it hushed AND excited!!!"

LOL

Re:EPIC 2014 (1)

Reteo Varala (743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181940)

*chuckle* You realize that the monologue was spoken by one of its writers, right? Scary thing is how completely he seems to believe it.

Cash purchases (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11180467)


Ok, sure I use cash, but what do you tell cashiers who ask for your home phone number or even street address?

And if you work for a retailer who makes you ask these questions, how are you supposed to deal with customers who don't want to give out this info?

Re:Cash purchases (5, Informative)

nkh (750837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180494)

Cashiers who ask for info? Tell them they don't need it. And repeat "Here's your money" like a broken toy, it helps!

If you work for a retailer and are forced to ask, ask politely if the client wish to give some info. I'm just a client and I really appreciate when I'm asked instead of trying to answering their threatening demands.

Re:Cash purchases (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180566)

I tell them "No, I am not giving that info out." and it works just fine and if it doesn't then I leave the store and go somewhere else. Usually the stores that do ask are the stores that have the same inventory as 50 others.

Re:Cash purchases (3, Funny)

hugesmile (587771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180567)

I have found that they always accept "no" for an answer. However, you could always ask them back - "You give me your number first."

Re:Cash purchases (2, Funny)

Darthmalt (775250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181005)

I have found that they always accept "no" for an answer. However, you could always ask them back - "You give me your number first."

Hmm might try that next time I get the hot chick at Best Buy

Re:Cash purchases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11180742)

Last time I was in a Radio Shack, they tried that.

I responded that my name was Cash.

After a bit of thinking, the cashier rang me up as Johnny Cash.

Worked for me.

Re:Cash purchases (1)

tomjen (839882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180776)

[i]Ok, sure I use cash, but what do you tell cashiers who ask for your home phone number or even street address?[/i]

lie

Re:Cash purchases (1)

Scooby Snacks (516469) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181331)

I give my number as "declined". It's quite a coincidence, because that's also my address.

Just say NO - Loudly (1)

gadlaw (562280) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181494)

You sir are a victim of the good manners your parents taught you. You probably even answer the phone and speak with telemarketers when you don't want to. Here's what you do when confronted with a cashier who matter of factly asks you for your phone number, your zip code, street address or any other information when you are paying cash money for something. It's what I do and it works every single time. I say NO! So should you. I also tell them I will spend less time coming to any store that bothers me like this. Heck, I won't even go into a Radio Shack anymore and they don't even try do that address/phone number BS any longer. So if you are paying cash, not buying a controlled item where a registration is required like a gun or a nuke then you should know they have no right whatsoever to ask you for diddle. Nadda, nothing, zippo, zilch. Say it loud and say it proud. NO! (pet peeve)

Can I have your zip code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11183358)

I have always objected to this question because it incourages redlining.

I tell the clerk when they ask "can I have your zip code"
"No, I am sorry, I need to use it my self" or
"No, I am sorry, I don't have it with me."

The best thing to do is be polite and explain that you object to the question.

When they ask for this information you can just say 'no'

When they want the little card I tell them that it is discrimatory against people who are retarded or otherwise not smart enough to know how to fill out the form.

If they won't give me a discount, I don't buy the stuff.

I really hate the way that the store CVS does things with their cards. It makes me so uncomfortable that I make a point of NOT shopping there unless I have to.

Resistance is futile! (5, Funny)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180471)

Oh come on now! Just get your private banking records, secret software projects, xxx pics of your girlfriend & her mother, and goatse collection. Upload the shit to an FTP server, submit link on Slashdot, install webcams all over your home, and be done with it, okay?

Welcome to the no-privacy age!

Disclaimer: yes, you are correct in questioning my mental sanity. But then again, insanity is just a different view of reality, right?

Re:Resistance is futile! (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180598)

You first, but you got to include your mum!

Re:Resistance is futile! (2, Funny)

Swedentom (670978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180635)

goatse collection...
...submit link on Slashdot

I think we've seen that before! :-)

stop reading slashdot (0, Troll)

calculadoru (760076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180473)

and get a life in the process. oh, wait...

Tin Foil Hat (2, Funny)

Krusty_Klown (533651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180480)

I got a tin foil hat for Christmas!

Re:Tin Foil Hat (2, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180556)

We know. Please wear it. Its perfectly safe and secure. Please put it on now. Stop picking your nose too, please.

Wha?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11180773)

How did you know I was picking my nose?

Re:Wha?!? (1)

kernelistic (160323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11183312)

We are the government. We know EVERYTHING.

What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (5, Insightful)

zxSpectrum (129457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180482)

From the Privacy Resolutions:

Install anti-spyware, anti-virus, and firewall software on your computer.

I can understand why people want anti-spyware when running on windows boxes, since they also do a good job with cleaning recent files and such.

I can also understand why people would want firewalls for privacy. They're more convenient than actually locking down all ports and services manually

But anti-virus? And as a privacy measure? I don't get this. I have run without anti-virus for almost seven years, on various Windows boxes. I have never been virus-infected.

Whenever I am called out to do virus disaster recovery, it's almost always for people who have an antivirus solution installed. When are people going to drink the kool-aid, and understand that anti-virus solutions don't help.

My advice would rather go something like this: Set up your mail client so it won't auto-infect you by receiving mail. Don't open attachments. Don't install warez. Don't be so freakin' naive and gullible. Stop believing strangers send you naked Britneys.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180530)

Some viruses exist that will send random documents from your hard drive to people in your address book. Not many, but some.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (2, Insightful)

zxSpectrum (129457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180539)

Ok, let me explain this once more: Anti-virus software will not help you. What will help you is having habits that prevent infection.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

KinkifyTheNation (823618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180554)

Exactly. I recently installed and ran complete, deep scans on each of my hard drives, something I have not done since my last reformat, about a year ago.
Ignoring the few... uh, "tools" it happened to pick up, there was nothing found. Even my HijackThis logs are clean as a bell.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180604)

Anti-virus software will not help you

I think what you should be saying is that anti-Virus software may help you, but is not a magic bullet in isolation from having good habits.

Multiple layers of defence (of which AV software is one layer) is a good security principle.

Furthermore, you claim that you have "never been infected". In the absence of virus scanning tools, how are you reasonably certain of this?

To summarily write-off all anti-virus software, especially on Windows is naive.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

zxSpectrum (129457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180625)

Furthermore, you claim that you have "never been infected". In the absence of virus scanning tools, how are you reasonably certain of this?

  • I don't do warez
  • I don't open attachments
  • My e-mail client (Opera Mail/M2) is without scripting capabilities
  • I run with a secure browser
  • I have once or twice scanned my drives with an online tool, and never found an infection
  • I use a (hardware) firewall
  • I am restrictive with trying out software. I install what I need, and that's it.

On a related note: I am also one of those people who rarely have to reinstall my operating system. And amazingly: The OS is Windows (2000), and it isn't slow, it's not spyware infected, and it's not crashy.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180643)

You are certainly exercising good habits and I commend you for it.

However, save for using scanning tools "once or twice" you cannot be certain that something hasn't slipped through which may not have required an action on your part to infect the system, e.g. via a flaw in your browser or email client.

The infection may have happened prior to Microsoft or the vendor releasing a patch and the patch may not have removed an infection once in place.

As such, regular scanning would still be a good thing.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180636)

Anti virus programs NEVER prevent infection for the simple reason that the newest viri to hit won't be in the definitions file.

Safe computing practices are a far more effective virus prevention tactic than blind reliance on a outdated software.

The only times I've been infected is when I do something stupid, like if I click on an attachment accidentally. THEN I install an up to date virus scanner, remove the virus and uninstall it again so it doesn't hog resources. Usually by that time I'm due for an f-disk/format/reinstall anyway so I just do that instead.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180637)

"Whenever I am called out to do virus disaster recovery" i certainly don't hope your paid to do this because your ignorance is astounding. many viruses sole purpose is to log key strokes and copy files. so it IS a privacy issue. "always for people who have an antivirus solution" you have to keep your definitions updated for it to work. "Set up your mail client so it won't auto-infect you by receiving mail" this never works. "Don't install warez. Don't be so freakin' naive and gullible." this is the normal mode of people in the world, that also is not any kind of solution.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

zxSpectrum (129457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180747)

"Whenever I am called out to do virus disaster recovery" i certainly don't hope your paid to do this because your ignorance is astounding. many viruses sole purpose is to log key strokes and copy files. so it IS a privacy issue.

Dear Sir. Your answer is probably well meant, but I fear this is your ignorance speaking.

An anti-virus solution does not prevent virus infection. By nature, anti-virus vendors will always provide protection "after the fact". They can not provide protection against viruses they haven't yet analyzed. Only good habits, a properly hardened system, and secure software can do so.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180705)

Anti-virus doesn't just stop viruses, it also stops Trojans. You know those things which let someone remotely control your computer.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180915)

Sir, you question the usefulness of antivirus solutions.

I don't ever plan on being in an automobile accident. I drive cautiously,
am alert for other drivers, and don't engage in risky behavior behind the
wheel. Although I drive older vehicles, I take pride in basic maintainance
and make sure that the brake system and tires are in excellent shape.

I still wear my seatbelt. Its not guarenteed to protect me in an
accident. Heck, in a small percentage of automobile accidents, it probably
results in more severe injuries. That being said, its a safety device.

Windows antivirus is the same way.

On my windows machine, I run more secure applications. I don't download
software from dodgy sites. I am behind a firewall.

I still use antivirus.

How many times have I been infected? 0. Have I found viruses? Many times.
Would they have infected me? Probably not. But better safe than sorry.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

zxSpectrum (129457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181048)

The problem with analogies are that they often are invalid. An antivirus solution is not your seatbelt. Antivirus is a set of sensors mounted on your car, designed to warn you about disaster. They won't prevent you from running your car into a brick wall at 110mph, but they'll tell you you're about to. Some of the time. Look: I'm not telling people to uninstall whatever antivirus solution they have. I am, however, suggesting that antivirus users are more often careless, because they rely too heavily on their antivirus solution to take care of the problem, and thus they become reckless.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (2, Interesting)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180962)

"My advice would rather go something like this: Set up your mail client so it won't auto-infect you by receiving mail. Don't open attachments. "Don't install warez. Don't be so freakin' naive and gullible. Stop believing strangers send you naked Britneys."

This is all fine and good if you do not receive much mail, but when you receive hundreds daily, it is nice to have most of it vetted so you do not have to be uber-cautious all the time. Without AV and AS software, I'd spend hours instead of minutes per day dealing with email.

Re:What does antivirus have to do with privacy? (1)

Money for Nothin' (754763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181790)

Don't install warez.

Unfortunately, even legitimate, legal software sometimes comes loaded w/ spyware.

My father installed Broderbund's "Family Tree Maker" and it installed an app which AdAware determined was spyware (IIRC, the binary was "ddagent.exe"). It runs as a daemon. I looked up the app once and it's supposed to send the family tree data you've inputted back to Broderbund so that they can build a big, interconnected family tree of all their software's users.

It's relatively harmless, really, but it's still an invasion of privacy. Some people just don't want their family tree to be known by Broderbund...

Some More... (3, Insightful)

mahesh_gharat (633793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180489)


Don't ever click the unsubscribe links from those annoying emails.

Read all your mails in text based mail client (MUA) to get rid of those bugs crafted in HTML code to trace your activity.

Re:Some More... (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180540)

And finally, never ever send read reciepts.

Re:Some More... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180771)

Mozilla Thunderbird [mozilla.org] blocks images by default in messages until you click "load images". Useful for reading graphical newsletters you *did* subscribe to.

Re:Some More... (1)

fingerfucker (740769) | more than 9 years ago | (#11183390)

One of my worst nightmares are my friends who are stupid. Those who will put my e-mail address into the "send this shit to your friends too so that we can sell their address" boxes.

Choose your friends. Choose life...

No more credit card offers! (5, Informative)

azav (469988) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180490)

So sweet. This is the best /. story this year because it can get rid of all those credit card offers.

I called up the phone number in step 5 and was notified of a web site that would remove credit card offers and insurance offers for 5 years or permanently!

Guess what I signed up for?

https://www.optoutprescreen.com/

So sweet. Less junk mail is a good thing.

Re:No more credit card offers! Know Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11180744)

Dweeb. The way THAT works is they report you as a deadbeat, your score goes to 300, and NO ONE will give you credit. Hope you aren't buying a house or car soon . . .

Re:No more credit card offers! Know Why? (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181260)


Dweeb. The way THAT works is they report you as a deadbeat, your score goes to 300, and NO ONE will give you credit. Hope you aren't buying a house or car soon . . .

Given that life on this planet is only temporary in the first place, the concept of "credit" (as it refers to economic prowess and compensatory dick size comparisons) is mostly irrelevant and superficial.

It's always cool to have the latest expensive toys and live in peer-approved neighbourhoods and drive the trendy cars, but if those are your primary motivations you are defective as a human being.

Just my humble opinion.

Re:No more credit card offers! (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181640)

Wow. Apparently that number (888/5-OPTOUT) is valid [FTC] [ftc.gov] (see also here) [privacyrights.org] .

Opting out of pre-approved credit offers is not much, but it can be useful (and save you a lot of annoyance).

Re:No more credit card offers! (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 9 years ago | (#11182415)

Advertisers, and marketing departments in general, have no reason to possess my government tax ID number. NONE. Notice I did not say sales departments, who may at least lay claim to a valid reason.

In addition, I refuse to provide my SSN to any website. Period. Even if they can reduce my junk mail. If you are running a legit business, give me a physical mailing address that I can verify. I will send you my information, certified mail with return receipt.

I thought this was a thread about privacy.

Number 11... (4, Funny)

telekon (185072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180509)

Grab a clean razor and dig the RFID tag out of your forearm.

/.ed site. here is the text (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11180538)

Protect Your Privacy in The New Year!

1. Engage in "privacy self defense." Don't share any personal information with businesses unless it is absolutely necessary (for delivery of an item, etc.). Don't give your phone number, address, or name to retail stores. If you do, they can sell that information or use it for telemarketing and junk mail. If they ask for your information, say "it's none of your business," or give "John Doe, 555-1212, 123 Main St." Don't return product warranty cards. Don't complete consumer surveys even if they appear to be anonymous. Profilers can build in barely-perceptible codes that link you to the survey, and this data goes straight to direct marketers.

2. Pay with cash where possible. Electronic transactions leave a detailed dossier of your activities that can be accessed by the government or sold to telemarketers. Paying with cash is one of the best ways to protect privacy and stay out of debt.

3. Install anti-spyware, anti-virus, and firewall software on your computer. If your computer is connected to the Internet, it is a target of malicious viruses and spyware. There are free spyware-scanning utilities available online, and anti-virus software is probably a necessary investment if you own a Windows-based PC. Firewalls keep unwanted people out of your computer and detect when malicious software on your own machine tries to communicate with others.

4. Use a temporary rather than a permanent change of address. If you move in 2005, be sure to forward your mail by using a temporary change of address order rather than a permanent one. The junk mailers have access to the permanent change of address database; they use it to update their lists. By using the temporary change of address, you'll avoid unwanted junk mail.

5. Opt out of prescreened offers of credit. By calling 1-888-567-8688, you can stop receiving those annoying letters for credit and insurance offers. This is an important step for protecting your privacy, because those offers can be intercepted by identity thieves.

6. Choose Supermarkets that Don't Use Loyalty Cards. Be loyal to supermarkets that offer discounts without requiring enrollment in a loyalty club. If you have to use a supermarket shopping card, be sure to exchange it with your friends or with strangers.

7. Opt out of financial, insurance, and brokerage information sharing. Be sure to call all of your banks, insurance companies, and brokerage companies and ask to opt out of having your financial information shared. This will cut down on the telemarketing and junk mail that you receive.

8. Request a free copy of your credit report by visiting http://www.annualcreditreport.com. All Americans are now entitled to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. You can engage in a free form of credit monitoring by requesting one of your three reports every four months. By staggering your request, you can check for errors regularly and identify potential problems in your credit report before you lose out on a loan or home purchase. Currently, these reports are available to residents of most western states. By September 2005, all Americans will have free access to their credit report.

9. Enroll all of your phone numbers in the Federal Trade Commission's Do-Not-Call Registry. The Do-Not-Call Registry (http://www.donotcall.gov or 1-888-382-1222) offers a quick and effective shield against unwanted telemarketing. Be sure to enroll the numbers for your wireless phones, too.

10. File a complaint. If you believe a company has violated your privacy, contact the Federal Trade Commission, your state Attorney General, and the Better Business Bureau. Successful investigations improve privacy protections for all consumers.

mod 3own (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11180562)

poor priorit1es,

Disposable identities (5, Informative)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180580)

Engage in "privacy self defense." Don't share any personal information with businesses unless it is absolutely necessary

Or... Give them disposable information that allows you to cease hearing from them, or know when/if they have distributed your information without consent.

To this end, I highly recommend Spam Gourmet [spamgourmet.com] which allows the on-the-fly creation of disposable email addresses.

If you walk into McDonalds and really want to sign up for their win a free cheeseburger contest, you give them an email address like cheesy.n.youraccount@spamgourmet.com and you will only ever receive 'n' emails to that address before it dies.

Of course if you then receive emails from Pizza Hut, you know exactly where they got the email from.

If you never want to hear from the person, give them this address: me@privacy.net.

Any emails sent to that address receive a reply to the effect of: "whoever gave you this address didn't want you to have theirs".

Useful stuff!

Re:Disposable identities (1)

Slowleggs (604433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180779)

And how are we sure Spam Gourmet doesn't sell your real email adress?

I'm serious! I don't know those guys, so how can I trust them? It could be a trapped honeyjar :)

Anyone have insight?

Re:Disposable identities (1)

sacrilicious (316896) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181116)

And how are we sure Spam Gourmet doesn't sell your real email adress?

As your address, just give them another Spam Gourmet address. :)

Seriously though, I agree with you that caution is warranted. To that end, I'd use a free account (e.g. from yahoo) solely for this purpose.

Re:Disposable identities (1)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11182367)

You ask a perfectly valid question.

Like anything else, you need to make a calculated risk-assessment.

If in doubt, use a free email account or a real address you can kill one day. Simple!

Admittedly you don't know me, but FWIW, I have had my Spamgourmet service pointed at a seperate address and have NEVER in about 2-3 years received mail directly to it rather than through Spamgourmet (that is, they didn't pass it on).

Re:Disposable identities (1)

Slowleggs (604433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11182735)

I chose to believe you're not a secret agent of SpamGourmet, that I thus can believe your words and trust SpamGourmet.

Thanks, I think :)

Re:Disposable identities (1)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181092)


To this end, I highly recommend Spam Gourmet which allows the on-the-fly creation of disposable email addresses.

If you walk into McDonalds and really want to sign up for their win a free cheeseburger contest, you give them an email address like cheesy.n.youraccount@spamgourmet.com and you will only ever receive 'n' emails to that address before it dies.

Of course if you then receive emails from Pizza Hut, you know exactly where they got the email from.


That is one of the reasons why I pay for my yahoo email account. I can make a ton of fake email addresses that forward to my real account.

I have done just what you mentioned. I have made aliases for people who required an email address, caught them giving it to someone else, scolding them for passing it out, and then deleting those aliases to let all of those spams flail about in the void of cyberspace.

Re:Disposable identities (1)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11182379)

I'm not entirely sure how you are doing it as I am unfamiliar with Yahoo.

I would be careful though of 'catchall' type addresses.

Basically, anything@mydomain.com would get forwarded to me such that I could use addresses like:

pizzahut@mydomain.com
slashdot@mydomain.com etc.

Unfortunately, brute-force spammers start sending to these (aaa@mydomain, aab@mydomain etc.) and every one of these would get to you.

Of course as their are hundreds of the addresses out there, I can't now kill off the catchall feature. For that reason, I now prefer Spamgourmet as it allows you to pre-allocate how long the address will work before killing all mail sent to it.

thanks, and questions (1)

sacrilicious (316896) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181125)

I highly recommend Spam Gourmet

That does sound great, and I'll be setting up an account shortly... thanks for the info! A question: wouldn't it be easy for the businesses to program their systems to always change the N (the middle number) to something much higher? Does SpamGourmet allow one to specify a meta-max to prevent such things, or allow one to axe an address spuriously inflated (or even one created blind)?

Re:thanks, and questions (1)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11182398)

Spam Gourmet has an easy and an expert mode. Suggest you read all the documentation as it has all sorts of additional options for seriously paranoid types.

In answer to your question, no.
Once an address is sent to for the first time, THAT becomes the maximum integer and changing it will have no effect as Spamgourmet pays attention only to the first part thereafter.

Moreover, the evil company would unlikely change the number in the address any more than they would change your normal email address as they must assume it would break.

Finally, there is a hypothetical argument in Spamgourmet's docs where an evil company who were given a Spamgourmet shielded address by you could start guessing addresses (e.g. you give them cheesy.5.youraccount@spamgourmet.com and they guess biteme.20.youraccount@spamgourmet.com etc.)

There are solutions for that as well as other scenarios, but I have never needed them in 2-3 years...

Also, if you DO decide you want to keep receiving mail you can also log into Spamgourmet and increase (up to 20 emails) the maximum number to be received or nominate trusted addresses who are not subject to the restriction.

A little over-the-top IMHO (2, Insightful)

36-bitter (7427) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180607)

Shee, some of this reads more like instructions for spies trying to survive in hostile territory.

Now, I've long believed that the best response to some clerk asking for my address on a cash deal is, "why?" or, "I already get your catalogs." I'm already *in their store*, so no further advertising is needed, eh? I wish there was some way for the clerk to get that fact into the store's database.

But there are some things about me that I would dearly love to have marketing folk know and share widely. I'm not a 59-year-old retired veteran, for example. I have no actual or legitimate theoretical interest in offers "for singles only." There's lots of stuff I'm not buying, not just from you, but not from your competitors either -- maybe it's because I don't want it at all? I don't smoke at all, or encourage others to, so why would I care that you are selling expensive imported cigars?

Anyone studying me in detail would see that I tend to actively preserve my unawareness of types of products that I don't use until I decide to use them, then do my own research and usually end up with one that's *not* heavily promoted. I wish some people would dig *that* out of their data mines.

Re:A little over-the-top IMHO (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181294)


Anyone studying me in detail would see that I tend to actively preserve my unawareness of types of products that I don't use until I decide to use them, then do my own research and usually end up with one that's *not* heavily promoted. I wish some people would dig *that* out of their data mines.

The advertising and marketing industries are mostly innocent scams. Aside from click-thru results to companies' websites (which don't necessarily result in sales and fraud is very easy) there is no way to track performance.

We Can Take Back Our Privacy! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11180731)

Don't believe this "privacy is dead" stuff. The data companies want you to believe this. The fact is, we've regained some privacy as a result of several federal privacy laws (most notably, the do not call registry) and laws passed in California. A 1999 law made it more difficult for companies to get and sell SSNs. We're making progress here, and if you follow just some of the resolutions, you will put a serious damper on the ability of data brokers to track you.

The enduring problem is information assymetry--they know how to collect data about you in subtle ways. For instance, just giving a clerk your telephone number enables the company to call Acxiom or Experian and use "enhancement" to get your real name, addresss, and email. If we want to slow this down, we need to become more costive with our data. Merry Xmas, Chris from EPIC.

"Pay with cash where possible" (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180793)

Is it just me that finds those electronic trails useful to working out where all the money went? Yes, I could write everything down, but it's so much easier... ...and why is the bank knowing what I've bought really such a terrible thing?

Re:"Pay with cash where possible" (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180803)

Must RTFA more carefully... okay, if they can sell it to telemarketers, that's bad. We've got the Data Protection Act here (UK), which neatly stops them doing that (or at least, not without declaring that they intend to).

Pay with cash to avoid sales tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11183379)

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will try and charge you sales tax on items that you buy in New Hampshire.

Even though this in unconstitutional, they don't care. The state is run by a mafia called the state government.

So, if you pay with a credit card there is a record that they can use to get you with and charge you the tax.

If you pay with cash they can never know.

Do you get it now?

Plus: when you pay with cash the credit card companies don't get their 4% which they don't deserve.

The price to pay (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180839)

A lack of privacy is simply one of the small concessions that people must make when living in a society. There is no way to have anywhere close to absolute privacy while living in a modern society. Period. If you want that much privacy, you can easily find a remote corner of the world to live in.

Muhahaha... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11180893)

I won't look.. I promise.

/sneer

These guys are pretty bogus (3, Informative)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11180933)

IMHO they are the ones who walk around in tin foil hats.

Despite all their privacy ranting on how the world is trying to guess the size of your penis....

Note the link for http://www.annualcreditreport.com
actually links to:
http://www.epic.org/privacy/fcra/freereportre direc t.html

That's right... they redirect, and that link only. Hmm... they aren't doing any sort of tracking are they? :-/

Put the tin foil hats back on, and get back in the blast shelter.

Re:These guys are pretty bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11181024)

Direct links to the site are blocked. EPIC actually wrote the FTC to complain of this problem. Currently, the only way to get to the site is to redirect or to type it in manually.

http://www.epic.org/privacy/fcra/freereportltr.h tm l

I would like to add (1)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181025)

I would like to add that if you are an American citizen the ONLY people you have to give your social security number too are your employer and your department of motor vehicles.

You can also ask motor vehicles to not use it nor to distribute your personal information.........they do.....every wonder how those "welcome to the neighborhood" coupon books and sales circulars find you?

Re:I would like to add (1)

gkuz (706134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181478)

the ONLY people you have to give your social security number too are your employer and your department of motor vehicles

You state that as an accepted fact, when until a few years ago, you didn't have to give your SSN to the DMV. But you don't question this at all, which is the "slippery slope" argument in a nutshell. Tell me, what does a driver's license have to do with my earnings history or my (possibly illusory, the way things are going) government pension? Absolutely nothing. Yet the DMV's now require the SSN, and nobody actually says "what the fsck for?" And they require it for a passport, and who knows what's next?

Besides, how much do YOU believe in the data security practices of the DMV?

Re:I would like to add (1)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181637)

You state that as an accepted fact, when until a few years ago, you didn't have to give your SSN to the DMV.
In the right now, which I am talking about, it is a fact.

I agree with you otherwise. I am just informing people what they can/cannot legally do. I have to tell you that it is a blast the first time you refuse to give out your SSN when some authoritative sounding person asks for it.

Peace

Steve

Re:I would like to add (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11183065)

This is incorrect. Unless you have a Taxpayer ID number you have to give your SSN to ANY financial institution that gives you taxable income. This is true even for resident aliens and non-citizens.

Credit? (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181336)

"By staggering your request, you can check for errors regularly and identify potential problems in your credit report before you lose out on a loan or home purchase."

As a college student who has yet to take the plunge to get a credit card, I was wondering if someone could clear something up for me. I was under the impression that checking your score too often took points off your rating. Does this new free annual check affect your credit rating in any way whatsoever?

Re:Credit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11181453)

Checking your report shouldn't harm your score. Applying for a bunch of credit will. See http://www.epic.org/privacy/creditscoring/

Re:Credit? (1)

Asgard (60200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11181841)

There is the concept of a 'soft' and 'hard' credit checks. Checks you perform on yourself are considered 'soft' and thus don't count against you.

Here is some more info [fool.com]

pretty bogus (1)

justins (80659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11183400)

Check out the site they recommend you use to opt out of receiving credit reports, https://www.optoutprescreen.com/

To protect your privacy, you have to give them your social security number, in addition to your name, address, and date of birth. Oh the irony.
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