Putting A Smiling Face On The Database That Knows Everything About You

from the sounds...-questionable dept

There are ways to argue that better management of information about someone can lead to better privacy protection. However, I’ve read and reread this article about how the CEO of ChoicePoint, a massive database company best known for providing background checks on anyone, is trying to openly discuss privacy concerns with people, and about the only thing I can get out of it is that he wants to convince us all that we should just trust him. He wants a debate, but doesn’t do much to explain how a service like his actually protects our privacy. His only point is that the data should remain in separate databases – until someone does a search. Of course, this seems like semantics. If the search goes across multiple databases, then it’s effectively a single database. He’s also working to provide the backend of Stephen Brill’s “No, I’m Not A Terrorist Card” that we discussed last year. The idea is that non-terrorists (who, as the saying goes, “have nothing to hide”) reveal all sorts of info about themselves in exchange for a card that says, basically, “the person holding this card isn’t a terrorist, don’t bother making them stand in long security lines.” As we pointed out, as voluntary as this sounds, it certainly seems like there would be an awful lot of guilt-by-no-association. “What, you mean, you didn’t pass the ‘I’m not a terrorist’ test? What did you do?” But, thankfully, if we just trust this CEO (without understanding why we should trust him – and even though the article names some screwups the company has made in the past concerning privacy) we should have nothing to worry about.

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