Friday, June 6, 2008

1984 was a typo! -- No Place to Hide Pseudo Book Review

I really blame phn1x for actually answering my question of what Safeway does with the information of what you buy and suggesting the book "No Place to Hide" by Robert O'Harrow.

Google Books Link:

I won't do the typical review I do because its not a "tech" book but I will say that it was eye opening. I'm embarrassed to not know the scope of information (and how easily we give it up) that is being accumulated about us by different commercial organizations (ChoicePoint, Acxiom, and more), computer generated models of our likes and dislikes formulated and sold to various vendors, private information about us from marriage, mortgages, books checked out from the library, you name it, and of course that information being easily sold to the government so they can live up to laws forbidding the government from spying on citizens by the government itself not actually doing the spying but merely buying data and services from these vendors.

I don't want to go all Dale Gribble (more) but some fun/spooky/scary things from the book.

1. you dont have to fill out warranty cards that ask for all that personal info like how much you make and what kind of car you drive. By law all products have a 1 yr warranty without you having to mail in that registration card.

2. your phone number is your new SSN and the "key" tying good chunks of your data to you. Add your zip code to make sure there are no mistakes.

3. where do these companies get the data? From: telephone directories, voter registrations forms, tax assessor offices, questionnaires, warranty cards, catalog buyer behavior information, and product registration forms.

4. who generated the initial no fly lists? yep those companies.

5. best part, all the data policing is done by the companies and not the government.

And for a real world example, in my mailbox yesterday was some junk mail from some Baptist church. Of course called and said thanks for the letter but how the f**k did you get my name and address. The utility company gave it to them...WTF.

EFF and EPIC can expect good donations this year, as long as they don't write down my name and address so the government doesn't have its initial start list of dissidents when things go south. But its probably waaaaaaay to late to worry about that. I know I'm already on that list.

For Cons of the book, read the reviews on amazon they mostly say the same thing. Basically great information, but no remediation. fI there even is any at this point.

If you want to see what they have on you, at least ChoicePoint appears to do this for free if you are willing to cough up some information.

also opt-out info:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chris if you liked that book and were looking for more remediation try this one "How to Be Invisible: The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Personal Privacy, Your Assets, and Your Life" by J.J. Luna. I am reading it right now so far it is very informative, although the author seems a little paranoid.