A recent article in Business Week stated that that “studies have shown that 87% of the U.S. population can be uniquely identified via only a date of birth, sex and five-digit residential zipcode.” In countries like Canada, postal codes can pin point geographic targets with even greater precision than zip codes (in many cases, to the specific portion of a specific street). This suggests that Internet users, whether Canadian, American or otherwise should be very careful about disclosing any personal information to websites if they are concerned about retaining their anonymity.
Another concern is the increasing number of services offered by search engines such as Google which require users to log in. Its probably best to log out after any such use in order to reduce the risk that search queries will be logged.
Privacy seems to be taking a big hit these days. According to USA Today, some US cities such as Chicago are requiring certain private businesses to install cameras in order to monitor customers.
The Financial Times has a story about an Ohio company that embedded silicon chips in two of its employees. Apparently, about 70 people in the US have had such implants.
Continue reading GMail to host corporate emails?
RedFerret had a link to this do-it-yourself RFID Zapper. It can be used to deactivate (a better word is probably “destory”) RFID tags found in commonly purchased consumer products. This is done by subjecting the RFID tag to a strong electromagnetic field in order to “fry” its internal electronic components. The plans on the site are based on building the zapper using a disposable camera case. My view is that privacy advocates who wish to deactivate RFID tags on items they’ve purchased should construct a device they can use at home. Not a disguised portable device that might be better suited to assisting shoplifters.
The New York Times has an interesting article titled A Growing Web of Watchers Builds a Surveillance Society. David Shenk points out how technology is making us increasingly susceptible to surveillance and monitoring.