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Current | Aug 2000 | July 2000 | June 2000

News Stories: July 2000


July 31, 2000 - Web Co. Getting Personal Info (Coremetrics)

"A security and privacy firm that does risk assessments for Internet retailers has found that four retailers are forwarding the personally identifiable information of customers to another firm, in violation of the retailers' stated privacy policies." For the original Press Release outlining Coremetric's tracking along with follow-ups and a link to Coremetric's response, visit Interhack Publications (links courtesy of "Johnny Bravo" & "Patricia S.")

July 28, 2000 - Microsoft Cookie Tool Stirs Controversy

"With Internet Explorer 5.5, Microsoft is testing a cookie management feature that blocks certain kinds of cookies. [...] The seemingly innocuous add-on has raised the ire of Web advertising services and e-commerce vendors that claim the feature unfairly excludes them from the benefits of cookies: driving traffic and ad dollars to a site and supplying key demographic data to e-businesses." (link courtesy of "Doug T.")

July 28, 2000 - Network Advertising Initiative: Principles not Privacy

EPIC & Junkbusters' Report on Online Profiling Principles "assesses past events surrounding Internet advertisers, analyzes the recent self-regulatory guidelines approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and proposes solutions that will provide for the adequate protection of online privacy."

July 28, 2000 - FTC Report on Online Profiling submitted by the Network Advertising Initiative

"Commends Network Advertising Initiative's Self Regulatory Principles." What a surprise. Looking over the NAI Press Release and a list of it's leading members (24/7 Media, AdForce, AdKnowledge, Adsmart, Burst! Media, DoubleClick, Engage, Flycast, MatchLogic, NetGravity (a division of DoubleClick), and Real Media) makes it clear NAI is about corporate public image, not user privacy.

July 27, 2000 - FTC Backs Industry Privacy Deal

"One of the most inflammatory issues mentioned by the ruling now allows Internet advertising companies to merge personally identifiable information with a person's online habits. [...] Previously, DoubleClick said it would not merge the databases until regulations addressing the issue were in place. The NAI's agreement seems tailored to allow DoubleClick to go forward. But in a surprise to several parties, DoubleClick released a statement Thursday saying it will wait. [...] Privacy advocates doubted that DoubleClick would hold out for long." (link courtesy of "Mike M.")

July 27, 2000 - Regulators endorse self-regulation in online privacy

"The Federal Trade Commission voted 4-1 to endorse a self-regulatory plan submitted by the Network Advertising Initiative, a consortium of major Internet advertising companies. Privacy advocates objected, calling it "written by industry for industry" and saying it fails to adequately address the issue."

July 26, 2000 - Privacy group launches consumer education campaign

"TRUSTe announced its "Privacy Partnership 2000 Campaign" on Tuesday morning. The goal is to educate online consumers about privacy issues and individual rights through newspaper, radio and Internet advertising. [...] We now want to make sure consumers know what the privacy seal means and how they can use it to stay in control of their personal information." But I already know what the TrustE seal means. It means "We protect our members from your complaints."

July 26, 2000 - Radiate Implements Advanced Privacy Technology in New Version of Ad-Serving Software

Radiate, maker of the infamous Aureate spyware, announces that along with other privacy enhancements, "Radiate's latest technology allows users to change or delete information they previously volunteered to Radiate. When a user installs advertising-supported software from Radiate, these tools allow users to edit or delete their information." Of course, that won't do a thing for the many thousands who don't know they've "previously volunteered" or are still unwittingly "volunteering" information to Radiate unless they update their software.

July 26, 2000 - Secrets & Spies: Outcry grows over software that covertly passes on personal information

This Houston Chronicle article on spyware includes words from Dale A. Haag whose posts on CuteFTP calling home were at the forefront of the Aureate storm, Jason Catlett of JunkBusters, and GRC's Steve Gibson. (link courtesy of "Robert Wycoff")

July 26, 2000 - England Set to Pass Snoop Law

"The British government expects a bill to allow police and security services to trawl private e-mails to become law after it returns to the House of Commons on Wednesday."

July 24, 2000 - New Net snooping tools: FBI wants access to all forms of Internet traffic

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation is developing a broad range of Internet surveillance technologies capable of monitoring any form of digital communication, including file transfers and Internet-based telephone calls. The FBI revealed its ambitious digital snooping development plans during a congressional hearing on "Carnivore," the bureau's controversial Internet wiretapping program."

July 23, 2000 - Software violates privacy, critics say

This Miami Herald article on spyware includes information about Steve Gibson's investigations of RealDownload. "Earlier this month, Steve Gibson, a California columnist for Infoworld magazine, reported that he discovered that every time he downloaded something from RealNetworks, one of the most popular sites for digital music, his name and private e-mail address were somehow being sent back to the website." (link courtesy of "Paul B.")

July 21, 2000 - FTC says Toysmart violated child Net privacy law

"The Federal Trade Commission said today that violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) by collecting personal information from children without their parents' consent. The FTC also announced today that it reached an agreement with Toysmart about earlier charges that the company was trying to sell confidential customer information. [...] "The company that buys the information must agree to abide by Toysmart's original privacy agreement, which promised never to sell or share customer information with a third party." Wish I could say it's a joke but it's not.

July 20, 2000 - Pixel-high privacy spy

"Spies too small to see are keeping an eye on you while you browse the world wide web." This general article has some good information but mistakenly states there's nothing users can do to protect themselves against Web Bugs. We know better. Take the good info from the article and then read this GRC Opt-Out newsgroup post of a letter sent by The WebFairy to the Editors explaining to them what users can do to protect themselves. (BBC news link courtesy of "The WebFairy")

July 20, 2000 - Banning secret workplace snooping: New bill would require companies to inform workers of all monitoring activities

"A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban companies from secretly monitoring employees' electronic communications. The bill wouldn't prohibit companies from snooping, but would require them to disclose their monitoring practices to employees when they are hired and to update them on an annual basis."

July 20, 2000 - Is Privacy Lost in Cyberspace?

Video: For this Burden of Proof show participants included Mark Wright, internet marketing researcher; Diane Cabell, Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University; George Clark, internet attorney; and Ari Schwartz, Center for Democracy & Technology. This program can be found in the archives linked above and watched via Real Player or Windows Media Player. The CNN QuickVote question was "Should companies be prohibited from sharing personal information found online?" 88 percent voted "Yes", 12 percent voted "No". (link & info courtesy of "Hermital")

July 18, 2000 - Pssssst ... someone may be following you on the Internet

"There is a good chance that when you surf the Web you are being tracked, because information about where you go on the Internet and what sites catch your interest is worth billions of dollars to Web advertisers." This general article explains how cookies and Web Bugs are used to create profiles. (link courtesy of "Curley")

July 14, 2000 - Web Service Can Breach Computers' Private Files

"Search engine designed to find music and movies seeks out -- without some owners' knowledge--all multimedia data on unsecured hard drives. Scour's attorney insists that the company's search technique is legal." and of course... "We take the privacy of our users very seriously and it's a top priority," said Craig Grossman, Scour's general counsel." (link courtesy of "89")

July 14, 2000 - Your PC Is Watching

A general article on spyware & growing public concern that names names and has some blurbs from Richard Regular, Conducent's marketing director. (link courtesy of "tranquilo")

July 13, 2000 - Meet Eater: The FBI's Plan for Digital Wiretaps Raises More Questions Than It Answers

Robert X. Cringely ponders the implications of Carnivore and concludes "If we ever hear a proposal from the FBI in which it plans to install Carnivores at all 6000 ISPs in the U.S., we'll be giving the government the power to do something it can't do right now. Shut the Internet down." (link courtesy of "glaze")

July 10, 2000 - FBI system covertly searches e-mail

"Essentially a personal computer stuffed with specialized software, Carnivore represents a new twist in the federal government's fight to sustain its snooping powers in the Internet age. But in employing the system, which can scan millions of e-mails a second, the FBI has upset privacy advocates and some in the computer industry." (link courtesy of "Darius T.")

July 10, 2000 - FTC files complaint against Toysmart

"The FTC is seeking to stop Toysmart from auctioning off former customers' personal information as part of its liquidation sale. [...] In Toysmart's case, the customer information included home addresses and email addresses, phone numbers, transaction history and family profiles -- such as children's birth dates, the FTC said."

July 7, 2000 - Now, Companies Can Track Down Their Cyber-Critics

"A new service allows corporate spinmeisters to retaliate against outspoken citizens with "reeducation" efforts -- or worse. eWatch says, through a little info-cleansing "We can neutralize the information appearing online, identifying the perpetrators behind uncomplimentary postings and rogue Web sites," the company's online promo material says. Then, eWatch can "remove offending messages from where they appear in cyberspace."" (link found in

July 7, 2000 - Scanning the World: A mysterious California company is sweeping the net for live hosts, and touching off alarms around the world.

"According to records in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the service mark "Quova" is registered for "providing demographic, geographic and psychographic information to others." [...] the company is working to refine its technique, so as to fly stealthily beneath the radar of firewalls and intrusion detection systems." (link courtesy of "Howard")

July 7, 2000 - Privacy Suit Targets Netscape

"A New Jersey-based website operator has filed a class action lawsuit charging that AOL/Netscape's Internet software violates electronic privacy law." (link courtesy of "Miggsee")

Unobfuscated links to news stories have been shortened for page sanity. Please send links to world-wide news stories & related privacy articles to Credit appreciatively given.

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