Data Cant Ever Get Away
Debates concerning e-privacy usually focus on the risk of deliberate abuse.Debates concerning e-privacy usually focus on the risk of deliberate abuse. Perhaps its more important to protect our personal data against incompetence, rather than malice. Eli Lilly, maker of the antidepressant Prozac, didnt mean to disclose the e-mail addresses of 600 users of that drug. But when the company discontinued an e-mail reminder service to Prozac users, it revealed participants identities in a notification of this change. How depressing.
I get too many e-mail messages whose addressees are listed in a "To:" field, rather than being kept confidential (at least from casual inspection) by addressing them as "bcc:" recipients. But thats a detail. In a broader sense, this Prozac incident illustrates a fundamental difference between the Internet and other forms of mass communication: At some level, the Internet demands that you stand up and be recognized before you can be IP-addressed.