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Re: Collection of personal info

At 8:39 PM 9/6/95, David Neal wrote:

>From the huge number of people in the database, it would seem that TRW
>is now marketing a subset of their credit records they keep on everyone.
>Does anyone else remember the flap over Lotus' product (Magellan) that
>was going to allow something similar?
>The risks? This is the perfect database if you want to red-line your offerings.
>I'm sure others will have more creative answers.

About the Lotus Marketplace product of several years ago, many of us
thought at the time that the furor was misdirected, and the result
ultimately damaging to privacy concerns.

Why? Because the ZIP code data is _already_ available to the mass
marketers, etc. The Marketplace produce merely made it available to "the
rest of us," allowing many people to have their eyes opened about what

By getting Lotus to pull the product, the public went back to sleep, lulled
into the false sense of privacy that their ZIP codes were once against

Privacy needs to be protected by keeping some things secret, not by passing
laws limiting the records others can collect from public or voluntarily
offered information.

Don't get me wrong--I don't like TRW Credit, Equifax, TransUnion, or anyone
else compiling "dossiers" on my spending habits, my travel itineraries,
etc. But by using my VISA and MasterCard cards, and by agreeing to their
terms and conditions, I am tacitly accepting that credit reporting agencies
will have access to my transactions.

If there is a "market for privacy," and this is something we've talked
about before, then someone will offer "The Privacy Card." We can debate
what this card might offer, randing from complete unlinkability (ecash
protocols of various sorts) to non-reporting of records to the Big Three of
credit reporting agencies. Even cards issued in the name of pseudonyms, of
various sorts and backings.

Should there be laws _against_ this kind of Privacy Card, we should fight
these laws.

But we should not lull ourselves into a false sense of security by adopting
the unconstitutional and anti-liberty approach of having "Fair Credit
Reporting Act" and "Data Privacy Act" sorts of laws.

In my opinion, of course.

--Tim May

Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
Corralitos, CA              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^756839      | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."