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CPSR Newsletter Vol 18, Number 4
Volume 18, Number 4 The CPSR Newsletter Fall 2000

Constructing Privacy - From Protocols to Interface
Steve Teicher

Nathaniel Borenstein [ Visiting Research Scientist, School of Information, University of Michigan ]

Nathaniel said that he was about to disagree with Jeff Rosen. He started from the very deep conviction that privacy is dead, so we might get over it. The very notion of privacy is an illusion that we sort of agree with, but in reality is it a fiction.

He then did a fictional presentation about alleged diseases of the panel speakers, pointing out at the end that it was really fiction, but that the kind of information he gave was readily available to him without too much effort.

How does the lack of privacy suggest the way that we live. We should try to encourage people to accept us as we are. The second thing that we need to do is to practice tolerance. Nearly everyone has borderline secrets. The death of privacy is going to give the fundamentalist the upper hand. The real message is that if we yearn for privacy we should practice tolerance.

Nick Nicholas [ Alliance for the Preservation of Email eXchange ]

Technology is a tool, but not a solution. He simply said that whenever we connect a computer to a network we have a security problem. He said that privacy is mainly a social problem and that has to be attacked via a social process.

David Marvit [ Disappearing Inc. ]

David a neurobiologist and then worked in public television. He was a founder of a company that did 3d virtual worlds.

He essentially described how DI works. Essentially, Disappearing Ink allows sensitive communications to work between trusted partners.

Ashok Khosla [ Brightmail ]

The company was started by Sunil Pal.

Ashok noted that SPAM affects ISPs greatly. Getting spam in your inbox is one of the two major reasons that ISPs lose customers. Brightmail sells spam filters to ISPs. Brightmail's definition of spam is very narrow. It is unsolicited email for which there is no way for the customer to turn it off. In the case of Brightmail, a human being assisted by computer sorts is used to decide who is a spammer. Brightmail is very successful technically and commercially.

Peter Neumann [ Risks Forum ]

Microsoft was skewered by its own email and this was a good thing.

He said that in the California DMV there have been a lot of bogus licenses issued and they are used as authenticators.

The technologies that address privacy are all built on flawed infrastructure.

He then went on to discuss insider mis-use. He said that there are no internal controls or internal access controls. He said that most of the privacy problems we have are extrinsic. An insider that has legit access to the system may be selling sensitive information.

He did complement zeroknowledge..

The fundamental problem is that the systems that attempt to enforce provacy in fact are flawed.

What's inside...

© Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
P.O. Box 717
Palo Alto, CA 94302-0717
Tel. (650) 322-3778
Fax (650) 322-4748

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