Thursday, March 13, 2008

Keynote Address—Who’s Watching You? A Conversation About Privacy on the Internet

Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC.ORG) in Washington, is speaking about Eliot Spitzer's resignation and the surrounding events in light of privacy issues.

While showing a funny suite of pictures on Powerpoint relating the little story, he pointed us to:
Ashley Alexandra Dupré's MySpace page [now offline], Spitzer's alleged call-girl from the Emperor Club VIP
Eliot Spitzer on Wikipedia

It seems that Client 9 was caught because of his currency transactions... His Manahattan bank reported important transactions on his account which led to wiretapping which ended up by his resignation.

According to the Bank Secrecy Act, Banls have reporting obligations that now go beyond cash deposits of more than 10000$.

Information Awareness Office was used to capture information on americans as opposed to what it was meant to do, ie protect them by capturing information from outsiders. Now deffunded, its project are nevertheless being continued by other agencies. These projects are being legitimised by cross-reference to numerous laws that are unrelated (PATRIOT Act, Banking, etc.) and justified by 911.

Here are some of their projects:
Face recognition
Walking recognition

For more information on privacy issues, Mark invites you to visit the Electronic Privacy Information Center

Part II: Tom and Mark head2head

TM: What is the future of Real ID (statute requiring individuals to present a proof of identification that respects certain legal requirements)?
MR: It aims at preventing terrorists to board planes, federal buildings, etc. The project was put in place because states didn't want the responsibility or the costs involved with RealID. In fact, many states like New Hampshire and Iowa are enacting laws against what the federal government is planning to do...

TM: What about Google-Doubleclick merger?
MR: Microsoft pleaded there would be an impact on competition. Epic was approaching it on the profiling side. They were asking for privacy safeguards.

TM: Presidential debate
MR: Big impact of the internet (CNN-You Tube)
Obama campaign really effective on the web
Candidates are becomming more sensitive to younger tech savvy voters.

Part III: Q&A

Warrantless boarder-crossing search
No answer yet, more questions:
Can a laptop be looked at when you enter the USA?
What happen if you have encrypted files?
According to a conversation MR had with DHS's representatives, it is not in their policies and they won't do it unless there is prima facie evidence that they must.

Unability to take information off social websites
No answer, much litigation!
Google keeps the IP address, cookies and the search, and it time stamps it and retain the information for 2 years.

My friend Dave Bilinsky, from Thoughtful Legal Management, asked what tools people sould use to protect privacy online
Mark referred him to EPIC Online Guide to Practical Privacy Tools

Telecom Immunity
Epic opposes Telecom Immunity but understand that some telcos were squeezed and were trying to work with the governement. Let's wait and see which bills make it through!

Wow! That was an amazing session! A little reality check of where the world and your privacy are. I'm selling my PC right away!

No comments: