Privacy Organizations and Issues
See the very readable Federal Trade Commission website and resources on privacy, privacy protection, and identify theft. Also see Equifax information on identify theft and FICO credit ratings. If you are a victim of identify theft, call 1-877-IDTHEFT (877.438.4338).
The future of the Internet and the fate of the First Amendment in the Information age hang in the balance. For more information, see the Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition.
Also see Russ Smith's Washington Watch for more information.
Glen Roberts' Full Disclosure site contains a wealth of information on freedom of speech on the Internet, how to get your FBI file, and other topics. It also tells you how to make anonymous telephone calls, surf anonymously, etc.
Top Guru tells you how to get removed from search engine databases.
Amazon.com retailer cheats customers on privacy promise, saying in effect "We own the data we have about you, we won't show it to you, we won't delete it even if you ask, and we don't have to ask you if we decide to start selling it." Rumor has it that Amazon uses a cookie named "Z-Bubbles" to track you.
Don't miss the EPIC Online Guide to Privacy. The EPIC bill tracker lists current bills dealing with privacy, spam, and cyber-liberties.
and their affiliated organization Privacy International.
Also see the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which promotes privacy on the Internet.
Center for Democracy and Technology. Also see their Operation Opt-Out site to help you generate mail and online opt-out requests.
Privacy Council has a very useful privacy desktop section that includes information on spam, opting out, cookies, anonymizers, and more.
Note that in June of 2000, Congress passed a law making it illegal for states to sell drivers' license and motor vehicle information.
Privacy Alert tells you how browser cookies can be used to invade your privacy.
Privacy.net offers privacy information and resources and allows you to analyze your computer for privacy settings.
Global Internet Liberty Campaign promotes privacy as well as freedom of speech on the Internet.
Internet Privacy Coalition includes current news items.
The Privacy Page includes current news items.
Voters Telecommunications Watch Actively participates in the democratic and legislative processes to promote civil liberties in telecommunications.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse offers excellent information on everything from junk mail to caller ID what to do when your wallet is stolen, and identity theft resources.
Hotwired/Lycos index of privacy resources.
Privacy Exchange - international resources.
Privacy International - a U.K watchdog group.
The Named, founded by America's leading privacy advocates, is dedicated to protecting your private data from being sold by others without your consent.
Big Brother Inside - Intel's plans to identify each CPU with a unique accessible serial number.
Privacy horror stories, privacy links, anonymous remailers, etc.
CPSR - Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility includes FAQs on social security numbers, content filtering, data privacy and junk mail.
The Privacy Forum offers privacy discussions. Also see Your Right to Privacy discussion forums.
TRUSTe is the Internet's leading privacy seal program.
Privacy, Inc. provides an internet background check.
Reverse Phone Number Lookups
A number of search engines and investigative websites now offer reverse telephone number lookups. In order to prevent your phone numbers from being released by your phone companies, contact them and make sure your phone number is unlisted and non-published.
The following services offer reverse phone number lookup (there may be others). Enter your phone number with each of them and then follow their instructions to be removed from their database.
Be sure to be removed from the major credit bureau databases. Also see the telemarketing section.
Usenet newsgroups relating to privacy include:
Anonymizers, Remailers, and Encryption
If you want to send mail to someone without your email address being known or your return path being traced, use an anonymous remailer. Remailers are also helpful if you are concerned about privacy issues and the potential for government agencies to eavesdrop on private email conversations. See this PC World article for more information: Will Anonymous E-Mail Become a Casualty of War?.
For more information, utilities and services, see the book: "Effective Encryption for Privacy" by John Wiley Publishers, April, 2002, ISBN:0471486574.
Pretty Good Privacy Encryption
Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is cryptographic software that allows you to exchange email messages with both privacy and authentication. Privacy means that only those intended to receive your message can read it. Authentication proves that a message received from someone was actually sent by that person. For more information, see:
[Top] [Back to Junkmail home page]
Browsers, Cookies, and Internet Tracking
Opt out of internet trackingWhenever you buy anything over the internet (or elsewhere) and whenever you supply personal information, be sure to read the firm's privacy statement and opt out of information sharing by insisting they do not release your information to anyone else.
A growing number of companies track your browsing habits and establish cumulative records (profiles) of you from multiple sources. These firms obtain information by following your click-though of banner ads and by placing cookies on your system. By combining name and address information available from other sources, a complete profile may be accumulated. It is strongly recommended that you opt out of these profiling programs. More information is available under the information section, above.
The following internet advertisers allow you to opt out of their profiling. This is usually done by allowing them to set an "opt-out" cookie on your system. In light of DoubleClick's fraudulent internet tracking, it is particularly important for you to opt out:
You must send an email to the following companies to opt out:
Firewalls act as a barrier to hackers trying to enter your system. If you have a full-time cable connection to the internet, you need a firewall. Even if you only dial-in, the first five minutes after connecting are the most vulnerable to hacking. Hacker robots routinely scan for new connections to ISPs and then probe the connecting systems. More information is available at Network Ice. Use Steve Gibson's Shields Up! site to probe your PC and warn you of security holes. Security test scanning services are also available at www.secure-me.net. PC Magazine, June 2000, has a section on Protecting Your Desktop. PC firewall products include:
Tip: if you are on a stand-alone PC, turn off file and print sharing to help secure your system. To turn off file sharing, select start, then settings, then control panel, then network, then configuration, then file and print sharing, and turn off file sharing and print sharing by clicking each box to remove the check mark.
Mac firewall products include:
You would be surprised at the information being collected about you by your software. Spyware is software that collects personal information about you and your internet browsing habits, even if the program is free, is not used, or is uninstalled.
Use this alphabetical list of spyware of infected programs, and you can search for a program by name to see if it is spyware infected.
John Fitzsimons has an very resource page on spyware. Be sure to review Steve Gibson's excellent material on spyware.
Spy Sweeper product.
Various spyware utilities are listed at SpywareInfo.com, including utilities that detect and repair browser hijacking - commandeering of browser settings.
News itemsSecurity officials to spy on chat rooms, by Declan McCullagh CNET News.com November 24, 2004, publisned by zdnet.com.
The CIA is quietly funding federal research into surveillance of Internet chat rooms as part of an effort to identify possible terrorists, newly released documents reveal.
Tenet calls for Internet security, The Washington Times, December 2, 2004
Former CIA Director George J. Tenet yesterday called for new security measures to guard against attacks on the United States that use the Internet, which he called "a potential Achilles' heel."
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Copyright 1995-2004 Fred Elbel. This material may be freely used and distributed only for non-commercial purposes, with credit. Nothing in this web site should be construed as legal advice. This web site is provided for information purposes only. Opinions presented are those of the author (or of other contributors as indicated). Trademarks and copyrighted items remain the property of the owner.