Tag Archive for 'privacy'

Direct Marketing Association – hackers’ delight

Everyone pretty much knows the Direct Marketing Association is a complete joke with regards to online privacy, but it gets far worse than that.

Apparently their opt-out lists are storing people’s passwords in cleartext, and non-administrators at DMA have access to the entire database, AND are sending emails with those passwords.

I would be willing to bet their website is not secure enough to withstand an attack from a hacker who knows what he’s doing. If that ever happens, that hacker has access to a relatively large database of privacy conscious users, including their passwords. Everyone knows most people use the same passwords on multiple online services, so once a hacker has that database he’s got keys to a LOT of other information, incl. most likely services like Paypal, online banking, etc.

But what else could you expect from an organization that’s been fighting people’s right to privacy for decades. I guess they’re practicing what they preach.


Gizmodo declares war on RIAA

Popular gadget blog Gizmodo has declared March 2007 as the Boycott RIAA month.

Their article titled Gizmodo’s Anti-RIAA Manifesto explaining the reasons for the boycott is an excellent summary of all things wrong with the RIAA.



Update: Looks like it really was Chase who called me. Damn phishers making everyone paranoid.

Today I’ve received two calls on my cellphone supposedly from 1-800-454-9078.

The automated call claims to be from Fraud Center at Chase and is asking me to verify information regarding my Chase PriorityClub credit card. The caller has my cellphone number and the last four digits of my credit card. I can only imagine what the caller wants to do with the data.

I use this credit card very seldom. In fact, I haven’t used it for months before yesterday. Someone, somewhere swiped my credit card information yesterday. Very interesting. I used the credit card on two online stores yesterday. Both supposedly VERY reputable. Either they, their credit card processing company of my PC have been hacked.

I don’t think it’s my PC, because I make purchases from it using other credit cards all the time, and I haven’t received similar phonecalls about my other credit cards before.

Let’s see what kind of payments will start appearing on my credit card this week.


AT&T to customers: Fuck your privacy

AT&T gets sued for violating their own privacy policy and disclosing confidential information about their customers and their usage records to 3rd parties.

What does AT&T do to rectify the situation? Apologize and vow to protect customers’ privacy better in the future? Naah, that wouldn’t be Big Corp (tm) enough.

Instead AT&T rewrites its privacy policy to state, in no uncertain terms, that AT&T customers have no privacy whatsoever and AT&T can do whatever the hell they please with your data. Excellent!

Customers to AT&T: No. Fuck you.


In Soviet US the Government spies on you, pt II

USA Today has managed to find out more about NSA’s domestic spying program.

Turns out our fearless leader, Chairman George Bush, lied to us again. In his radio address last December he said he’d authorized the NSA to capture international communication between terrorist suspects. He specifically said only international communication, i.e. calls coming in from abroad or going abroad, are spied on, as if that makes spying on your own citizens any better. He also implied that the spying program was only listening in on terrorist suspects.

Either his definition of terrorist suspect is a little vague, and includes every US resident, NSA went outside of their mandate or Bush is lying through his teeth.

As the USA Today information reveals the NSA has been collecting information about EVERY phonecall made in the United States. All calls. Not just international calls or calls made or received by terrorist suspects. Every single call.

With the help of telecommunications companies the NSA has been collecting information about US residents’ phonecalls for years. Citing legal implications only QWest has refused to comply with NSA’s request to hand over call information. AT&T, Verizon and Bellsouth are happily letting the Government spy on you with no warrants in sight.

When will the Government stop lying to you? After the next election?


Aetna stores your data on laptops

Yet another data theft, and yet another company that’s completely failed to protect your confidential information.

Will Aetna get in trouble for this as they should? Of course not, just like with any other company that mishandles your data, there will be no consequences to Aetna, except a little egg in their face.


EFF sues AT&T for illegal wiretapping

EFF has filed a class action lawsuit against AT&T claiming AT&T has been secretly, and illegally, giving NSA access to all of AT&T’s cellphone calls data and all Internet traffic flowing through its networks.

Of note about this is that the Internet traffic flowing through AT&T’s networks is not necessarily sent from or to AT&T, as AT&T operates one of the backbone networks that route traffic from provider to provider. Essentially this means that the NSA has been illegally wiretapping, with AT&T’s active participation, a large percentage of all Internet traffic in the United States.

Update: Here’s some information about exactly what the NSA is listening. Great stuff.


IRS to allow selling your data

And just the other day I wrote about credit bureaus selling your data to everyone and their dogs.

Here we have the IRS suggesting relaxing the rules that tax preparers live by when they’re preparing your federal tax returns. The suggested change in rules would allow the tax preparers to sell data to data brokers, but also protect your data by allowing consumers to opt-out from sending your tax documents to be prepared offshore.

Wonderful rule change. Protectionism – yes, that very same thing George Bush said never works in his last State of the Union address, I guess the memo didn’t quite make it to IRS – and relaxed data privacy regulations in the same package.

I wish I could say I’m making this shit up.


Privacy? There is no such thing.

The Realty Times article reveals how credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Transunion) are selling your fresh mortgage application data within 24 hours of your you filing a mortgage application with a bank.

They’re selling the information to mortage lenders with your phone number, credit score, what kind of a mortgage you applied for and everything else they know about you. Equifax will probably also sell your email address with the data, too, considering they do e-pending for other clients as well.

There is no way for consumers to opt out and there is no way to know where your data ends up. Why would phishers and other criminals even bother with cracking when they could just pretend to be a mortgage lender and legally (!!!!!) buy your information for peanuts. The information would be much more uptodate, i.e. valuable as well. You bet the information is resold to anyone who pays for it. The possibilities for misuse are huge.

Some mortgage brokers are very upset about this practise, because the credit bureaus are basically selling their mortgage leads to their competitors. Some suggest the practise is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Personally I say the data brokers should be shut down by law, but we know that’s never going to happen considering the way the US legislators work. At the very least the data brokers should be tightly regulated and completely permission based, meaning not one bit of your data transfers hands unless you specifically allowed it. This wild west mentality towards your financial and other information is exactly why we have the widespread phishing problem.

I’m in the process of applying for a mortgage at the moment. If I get unsolicited calls from mortgage brokers, after applying for one, that’ll be one interesting phonecall. Anyone with ideas how to most effectively f*** with anyone that calls me, leave a comment or send me an email.


MPAA stormtroopers invade movie theaters, in Canada

Movie reviewers watching a prescreening of Derailed in Toronto are subjected to detention center type of security procedures before entering the movie theatre. Security guards also record the audience for duration of the screening. Can’t wait to go see movies! Maybe they’ll give me a strip search next time.