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Issue: Online Privacy
Online privacy encompasses such topics as encryption, data transfer procedures, government and private industry surveillance of Netizens, and individual web site privacy policies and practices. This issue also involves topics such as online anonymity, data warehousing, and the online tracking of consumer behavior.

Here are some resources, including media coverage and links to organizations and related publications about online privacy issues. More general information about other online policy issues is available from the Issues list in the right column of most pages on this site.

Media Coverage

Fear Comes to Hollister
In a case that pits the privacy of anonymous web site authors against protections against potential defamation, gay owners of a small-town weekly sue to discover who is tormenting them, San Francisco Chronicle, December 10, 2000
Related event: NLGJA Panel on Hollister Case
Update: Ex-Lawmaker Settles Lesbian Defamation Suit, Gay.com News, May 10, 2001

U.S. Embraces European Computer Crime Proposal
The United States has endorsed the gist of a controversial European drive to tighten cybercrime laws over the protests of privacy, civil liberties and human rights advocates, Reuters, December 4, 2000

FBI Gets Carnivore Approval...
A review by a private contractor of the FBI's Carnivore e-mail surveillance tool concludes that the FBI should continue to use the system, but raised the possibility that it could be abused to grab more data than a court allows, Wired News, November 22, 2000

...But Not Everyone Approves
House Republican leader Dick Armey added his voice Wednesday to those accusing an outside review panel of whitewashing a controversial FBI cyber surveillance tool, Wired News, November 22, 2000

Review Released on Web Wiretap
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A report on Carnivore, released last night by the Justice Department, did not satisfy critics of the system, who said a study of the system's specifications did not get to the heart of privacy issues, New York Times, November 22, 2000

Software to Track E-Mail Raises Privacy Concerns
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Marketers call them pixel tags and say they are used to gauge the success of e-mail campaigns, while privacy advocates prefer a more ominous name - Web bugs, New York Times, November 22, 2000

AOL logo
AOL Endorses New Opt-Out Online Privacy Laws
AOL recommends weaker opt-out online privacy protections for consumers in testimony to Senate panel debating privacy legislation, Reuters, October 3, 2000

Man standing in front of computer screen asking for ID
Public Internet Terminals Vulnerable to Criminal Abuse
The crux of the issue is the need for purveyors of public access terminals to respect users' privacy while maintaining the security of these machines, Business 2.0, September 28, 2000

Animated eyeball
The Great Privacy Swindle
An opinionated overview of current cyber-policy issues, Hightower Lowdown courtesy AlterNet, September 25, 2000

E-mail Advertisers Float Industry Standards Proposal
Top U.S. online marketers Monday proposed new privacy rules to curb the explosion of unwanted e-mail and head off a possible regulatory crackdown, Reuters, September 25, 2000

USA Today logo
'Privacy Gap' Splits Net Users, Execs
Consumers are plenty worried about privacy on the Net - but try telling that to Web site executives, USA Today, September 25, 2000

ACLU logo
Canady Bill Raises Threshold on ISP Disclosures to Law Enforcement
Canady bill would insure that federal law enforcement agents meet a higher legal threshold before forcing your phone company or Internet Service Provider to disclose information on your conversations or physical whereabouts, ACLU News Item, September 22, 2000.

"Cat" Scanning Device May Track Users Online
Privacy advocates are investigating the device, known as the CueCat, and its ability to snoop on consumers while swiping bar codes printed in catalogs and magazines or on products, CNET News, September 20, 2000

FBI seal
Carnivore to Continue Munching
Despite protests from legislators and privacy activists, the FBI will continue using the electronic communications surveillance technology while an external review is in process, Wired News, September 7, 2000

FBI Information on Carnivore
Information on how Carnivore is used from the FBI web site.

Internet and The Family 2000
This survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center focuses on Internet-connected families' concerns about online privacy and also has a few interesting questions on how parents feel about "dangerous" net content.

Internet Trysts and STDs
Followup to stories raising privacy issue related to syphilis contact tracing of participants in the AOL SFM4M chatroom, PlanetOut, July 26, 2000.

Organizations and Related Publications

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. that was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.

Privacy Online
Nonprofit Canadian group of computer professionals who intend to educate and help the general public preserve their personal privacy while online and use available data security tools to enhance their peace of mind.

Privacy, and Digital Self-Help
With regard both to inhibiting Internet pornography and promoting Internet privacy, the adequacy of self-help alternatives ought to play a crucial role in evaluating the propriety of state action, Tom W. Bell research paper draft, February 2001.

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