Thursday, May 03, 2007

Secrets & Privacy are all things of the past. Digg is publishing software keys. Google is cataloging our private lives, and the banks are losing our private data. The articles below point to the problems with protecting your data, and your intellectual property. Who can you trust to keep a secret when everything is public information?

Update: Digg.com CEO says site is 'aligned with the users'
Users battle site, decrying 'censorship'; Digg executives bow to pressure
May 02, 2007 (Computerworld) -- Digg.com, the popular site where users determine the placement of new stories by voting, yesterday found itself in the center of what some are calling a test case for the power of user-generated content on social networking sites.

The brouhaha erupted when executives at Digg began removing posts that contained a software key needed to crack the encryption used to limit copying of HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs. Digg, which began removing the posts after it got a cease-and-desist letter from another company asserting that the posts violated its intellectual property rights, also began deleting user accounts of those posting the key.


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April 30, 2007
Google Seeks Clearer Path to State Data
By MIGUEL HELFT

SAN FRANCISCO, April 29 — Four states have joined forces with Google to make information from their Web sites more directly accessible through Internet searches.

Much of the public data on government Web sites — things like school rankings, contractor and real estate licenses and information on emergency and public health services — is easy to access through the sites themselves, but is not always readily available through Web search engines.

Google has been working with officials in Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia to make some of that information more broadly available, using a technological standard for exposing previously hidden Web pages.

The company said that over time it hoped to extend the partnership to other government agencies at the federal, state and local level. Since the Web standard has recently been recognized by all major search engines, like Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask, the information would also be accessible through those services.

While the newly searchable data is already public, its wider dissemination could add fuel to a debate over how to balance personal privacy with the public’s right to access government records.

“These partnerships are among many that Google is pursuing with government agencies to better serve the public,” Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Internet users searching for jobs in Utah through a search engine may now find links to individual job postings that previously were available only through a database search on the site of the state’s department of work-force services. Similarly, a search on Virginia’s colonial history may deliver links to specific titles available at the state library.

In the state of California alone, more than 100,000 new Web pages, including some from extensive databases, will be available through search engines, said Clark Kelso, the state’s chief information officer.

Paul Taylor, chief strategy officer at the Center for Digital Government, a research and consulting company in California, said that the effort fits into a 40-year trend toward more transparency in government.

“I think it is good public policy,” Mr. Taylor said. “And it helps redeem a lot of effort that people have put in to make things accessible that haven’t been readily findable.”

But the increased exposure of government records through Web searches is likely to raise privacy concerns. A search for an individual, like perhaps a corporate executive, a celebrity or even a long-lost friend, may yield links not only to the usual public pages but also to property records, campaign contributions or court filings.

“It will be easier to collect disparate facts about a person which, bound together and aggregated, can present troubling problems,” said Chris Hoofnagle, senior staff lawyer at the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic, at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.

J. L. Needham, manager of public sector content partnerships at Google, said that the company was sensitive to privacy issues, but noted that the new information that will be accessible through Web searches was already public.

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J.P. Morgan Loses Clients' Data
By ROBIN SIDEL
May 1, 2007; Page D2

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has alerted thousands of its Chicago-area millionaire clients, as well as some of its own employees, that it can't locate a computer tape containing their account information and Social Security numbers.

The tape, which was in a locked container, was being transported from a bank location to an off-site facility last month when it went astray, a J.P. Morgan spokesman said. It isn't clear if the tape arrived at its destination or was lost along the way.

The tape contained data from J.P. Morgan's private-client services business, which provides financial services to clients who have a net worth of between $1 million and $25 million, the spokesman said. The tape also included data belonging to J.P. Morgan employees. Some 47,000 accounts were affected.

"There is no indication that data has been or will be used inappropriately," the spokesman said. In letters to clients, the bank also said that the data on the tape can't be read without special equipment.

Still, J.P. Morgan is offering clients a year of free credit monitoring and is advising them to pay close attention to their account statements.

It is the big bank's latest incident involving data that have gone astray. In September, the bank's credit-card unit notified 2.6 million current and former Circuit City account holders that computer tapes containing their personal information had been mistakenly thrown out. J.P. Morgan, which bought the Circuit City card portfolio in 2003, said at the time that it believed the tapes had been destroyed and buried in a landfill.

Over the past several years, companies and universities have been increasingly losing track of data contained on computer tapes. Often, though, these incidents don't result in criminal activity.

In February, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University said backup tapes containing personal data on more than 135,000 patients as well as current and former employees had been lost.

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