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The text below was written several years ago. In the time since, I've been concerned enough about privacy issues to actually write a book about the topic. You can find out more at...

Privacy Tactics Book Link PrivacyTactics.com

What's the Problem?

Perhaps the biggest problem with privacy rights and priviledges are just what they are in the first place. There are some clear and obivous issues, at least in the US - for example - for a person to be secure in their possessions and such. But is a telemarketing call during dinner a privacy violation? I think so. Others may say it's annoying, but not an actual violation of privacy. In any case, a phone call doesn't quite compare to someone denying you insurance because they had access to a DNA test indicating you might be at risk for some disease or another. So there are several different scales by which you can judge what privacy is. There's the type of information itself, such as is it related to your behavior, your medical condition, your family, your workplace and so on? And the potential impact of that information getting to the sources you'd prefer it not have it. Ranging from "just no ones business" thru "potentially embarassing" to "potentially or likely harmful."

Privacy, I believe, at it's essence means controlling how and where personal information is disseminated. This leaves a variety of gray areas. A simple example... if I'm injured and unconscious, clearly it would be in my interests if everyone from the first paramedic on the scence to the doctor to know that I have a drug allergy. But would I want drug companies to be aware of that and be trying to sell me their solutions to that problem if they had one? Maybe I do. But maybe you don't. What would be the mechanisms for business' or govenent to know how I'd want different entities to treat different types of information? And any mechanism implies a database indicating my preferences somewhere, which itself would have to be protected. And what of the law, which not only is barely scratching the surface of some of these issues? For that matter, it's not clear - to me anyway - that anyone's fully clarified or defined just what privacy means, or should mean. There's a lot more questions that need to be asked and answered. It's most likely that over the next several years much of this will be defined slowly and painfully via both case law and statutory law. The latter will most likely result in cascading and unthought of consequences. It should be interesting to see this area evolve.


McAfee makes top virus scanning and firewall programs.

Below are links to my two favorites and what I consider "must have" for just about anyone. If you're using a router at home, you have some degree of hardware firewall protection, so that's optional and you can get that off the McAfee site as well. But the Virusscan and the SpamKiller... gotta' have 'em.


VirusScan Online - 468x60product links

This is what I use to cut down on Spam. Fairly effective. Sometimes have to add a filter of two or your own. But if you leave automatic update on, I find it cut my personal spam rate by over 80%


spamkiller_468x60product links
Anti-spy software Spyware detection & removal
Anonymizer.com Protected, anonymous surfing.
iDecide Privacy Wall software for corporations.
zero knowledge.com Privacy & Security software for corporations and consumers.
Evidence Eliminator Privacy & Security. Wipes out cookies and history trails, etc.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Fact Sheets and Resources
Cloudmark Anti-spam software
www.omniquad.com Privacy/Security Tools
Organizations & Information  
Internet Privacy Project  
Email Privacy Tips
ID Protection Government Guide to ID Protection


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  Copyright © 1997 - 2006. Scott Germasie. All rights reserved.