PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

high-tech technology background with eyes on computer display

Biometrics and the “Titanic Phenomenon

Biometric Privacy and the Titanic Phenomenon

Washington Post article discusses the growing use of biometric identification, which involves authenticating identity by using immutable characteristics of the human body.  Some methods include fingerprint readers, iris scanners, and facial recognition systems.  According to the article:

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Soup for Me at $5 but No Soup for You (Or Maybe at $10)

Behavioral Targeting

There is still more interesting grist from the national telephone survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  The report has an extensive discussion of price discrimination – offering different prices for the same product or service to different customers based on behavioral profiling.

This practice is already happening.  Supermarket discount cards are an example of price discrimination.  The report notes: “[B]eing a loyal customer doesn’t automatically mean getting the lowest prices.  Computer analyses of shopping histories might determine that a person’s allegiance to some products means he or she would buy them even without the discounts, or with smaller discounts than others might get for the same items at the same time.”

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Don’t Know Much About Privacy . . .

Ignorance about Privacy

More interesting results from a recent national telephone survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  The report states:

The survey further reveals that the majority of adults who use the internet do not know where to turn for help if their personal information is used illegally online or offline.  The study’s findings suggest a complex mix of ignorance and knowledge, fear and bravado, realism and idealism that leaves most internet-using adult American shoppers open to financial exploitation by retailers.

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Just How Gullible Are We?

Phishing

Why do we keep getting that Nigerian money scam email?  Who could possibly fall for it?  One would think that by now, the gig wouldn’t work – people would be on to it – and those pesky spammers would move on to another scam.  But alas, somebody out there must be falling for it.  A recent national telephone survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania reveals some startling statistics about gullibility in all its splendor:

49% could not detect illegal “phishing”—the activity where crooks posing as banks send emails to consumers that ask them to click on a link wanting them to verify their account.

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Data Leaks: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Data Breach

Déjà vu.  All over again.  And again.  Yet another data security break, as if the scores of breaches announced earlier weren’t already enough.  A short while ago, I posted about a tally of the security breaches indicating that the personal data of over 5 million people had been leaked or improperly accessed.  Now this, from the AP:

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