Presentation on theme: "Impact of Computers on Society 2. Privacy and Personal Information."— Presentation transcript:
Impact of Computers on Society 2. Privacy and Personal Information
Privacy Can Mean Freedom from Intrusion – being left alone Control of Information about Oneself Freedom from Surveillance Being followed Being watched Being eavesdropped upon
Privacy versus Confidentiality Privacy – concerns personal information that one cannot be compelled to reveal about oneself Confidentiality – concerns information that has been entrusted to others with the understanding that it will not be revealed without permission
Guaranteed? Privacy is not guaranteed by the Constitution. It is implied in the 4 th Amendment (freedom from unreasonable search and seizure). Privacy is implied by the Declaration of Independence. Americans have the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I’ll see you in court! The right to privacy has been upheld by many court decisions. Roe v. Wade (1973) There is a right to privacy in the first trimester of pregnancy but less so in the second and third trimesters Roe v. Wade (1973) Lawrence et al. v. Texas: sodomy law struck down Lawrence et al. v. Texas Hiibel vs. Sixth District Court: can a person refuse to identify himself prior to arrest? Hiibel vs. Sixth District Court
Then, What is the Problem? We need to give up some privacy in society to make it possible to interact with others. To a certain extent we can choose how much privacy we are willing to give up. Sometimes that choice is limited.
Privacy Problems With increasing frequency we are forced to reveal more than we wish. Individuals, organizations, businesses, and government collect and exchange information about us.
A Chilling Effect “He knows!!” What do you have to hide? Suppose someone monitored every web site you visit on the Internet?Internet Suppose there were a camera in the parking lot at work? In your living room? In the bedroom? In the bathroom? Observation causes subtle changes in behavior This is true in physics experiments, as well as with people
More Privacy Problems “If you don’t have anything to hide…” currently has taken on political overtones. Giving up freedom to defend freedom can result in no freedom. "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
What is Personal Information Any information from which a living individual can be identified, including… Deeds, contracts, wills, divorces, legal documents Public records Law enforcement Banking, brokerage, other financial information Purchase information Medical records, tests, treatments Travel, EZ-Pass
And also... Educational records Drivers’ and professional licenses Biometric data Membership rosters Rentals and leases Website logs, ISP logs Cellular phone records Example: the CVS Medication “Reminder” And more....
What does this have to do with computers? Where is all that data stored? How is all that data retrieved? How is all that data manipulated and interpreted? How is all that data shared?
Privacy Act of 1974 Restricts data in federal records to what is “relevant and necessary” Requires federal agencies to notify the public in the Federal Register Allows people to access their records and to correct errors Requires procedures to protect DB security Prohibits disclosure without consent
Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 Requires a review process before doing computer matching Can be circumvented by purchasing large amounts of data from the private sector Example: ChoicePoint, Inc.ChoicePoint, Inc.
Erosions of the 4 th Amendment U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 loosened restrictions on wiretapping and surveillance FBI may obtain credit information without a court order Law enforcement may obtain medical records without court order
Privacy Act Problems Restrictions apply only to federal government Enforcement has been lax Lack of oversight, checks and balances Information is often outdated or inaccurate Difficult to write legislation in such a rapidly evolving situation Passed hurriedly
Databases Supermarket “club” cards Medical and insurance databases Sex offender registry Sex offender registry Google and other search engines Online searches of public records Automated Fingerprint Systems AFISAFIS National Crime Information Center National Crime Information Center
The Universal Key: Your SSN Intended in 1936 for Social Security Administration only Required as an identifier for federal records in 1943 Used by IRS in 1961 In 1976 state and local agencies allowed to use SSN Required in 1988 to get birth certificate In 1996 may be used for occupational and marriage licenses Detailed SSA timeline of SSN policy and law. Detailed SSA timeline of SSN policy and law.
SSN Flaws Not unique Social Security cards are easy to forge Frequently not verified by the requestor Information supplied by applicant was frequently not verified Have been used in many situations when they should not be
Fishing Expeditions Made possible in part by the SSN Can be based on vague suspicion and uncorroborated tips A presumption of guilt rather than innocence Frequently involve searches of data of people not under suspicion The problem of “inference” – computer matching, computer profiling
Principles of Data Collection and Retention Collect only necessary information Inform people when and why data are being collected Offer a way to opt out Provide a means for correcting errors Provide for updating information Establish clear security and access rules Do not use data for purposes other than the purpose for which they were collected Provide for timely disposal of data
A National ID Card What would it be used for? Passports, permission to work, health care? Smart cards or biometric data Help reduce fraud Prevent illegal aliens Could be used to match virtually anything about the individual
Your Credit Report Obtain your free personal credit report from one of the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion Because the companies want you to pay, they have made it difficult to locate and use the free site. To circumvent this, go to http://www.epic.org/privacy/fcra/http://www.epic.org/privacy/fcra/ Search for “posted a webpage” (second paragraph) and follow the redirected link to AnnualCreditReport.com. This site is safe. The data are protected by 256-bit encryption. Be prepared to print out your full report, with the exception of the three-digit credit score. Unfortunately, federal credit reporting law does not require credit reporting companies to give the score to you for free.