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Privacy Heat Generates Little Light

By Mike Banks Valentine
Posted Friday, November 26, 2004

Privacy and security are topics I've been following closely for over two years online and off. I know I've seen some rather vehement and heated opinions voiced on Privacy and I've watched otherwise very level-headed discussions turn rather boistrous when privacy issues come up in conversations of internet industry marketing or security veterans.

An innocent comment on spam can cause unimaginable eruptions of heated emotions at a internet professional gathering. Vast hotel ballrooms overflow at web conferences to hear panel discussions on IT infrastructure security issues since September 11, 2001. Databases of customer information have been fought over in dot com bankruptcies while accidental exposures of private information is unwittingly made public by simple human error handling email soft- ware. Privacy issues made DoubleClick famous overnight.

I watched two episodes of the popular network television show "Law and Order" just this month that dealt with innocent death due to a hacker killing diabetics in one show and a stalker accessing private information purchased from datamining profiteers to kill an innocent in another show. These programs are supposedly based on real-life cases. Privacy issues have made it to Prime-Time on 60 Minutes repeatedly, from identity theft to facial recognition software to airport security matters.

What permission is presumed given by subscribers when they join a discussion list as to Privacy concerns? Do you include their email address on subscriber posts? Do you have permission to contact them for stand-alone ads from list advertisers? Does your web site privacy policy apply to your list subscribers and if not, can you then archive the list online? What if you remove those email addresses before archiving?

Privacy has been a growing topic of concern among the US public since 11 September. Harris found that 91% of US consumers say they would be more likely to do business with a company that verified its privacy practices with a third party.

About the Author
Mike Banks Valentine is the Moderator of the newly launched Discussion list from called I-Privacy Subscribe ( Privacy is Good Business Online


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