Innocent Bystanders

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-02-24 Print this article Print

Then, of course, there are the innocent bystanders whose civil liberties, privacy and identity are violated, including the three Atta brothers in Texas, unconnected to the alleged hijacking leader, exonerated but having to chase down their names to get them off watch list copies posted on Internet sites in at least five countries. Likewise, cruise lines dont want to send their passenger lists up to Washington every day, either. So how do you compare data sets to come up with matches without actually exposing all your sensitive data?
Even more to the point for enterprises is a related question posed by Pearson during the podcast: How do you share enough information to keep business (or the economy) flowing, while balancing privacy and security of personally identifiable information?
After all, whether youre visiting the doctor, heading to the Department of Motor Vehicles or buying a book on Amazon, youre exposing sensitive data. And as Jonas said in the podcast, consumers really hate being surprised in this area. "When the consumer suddenly realizes that their data is flowing in a way that they had not anticipated or its been revealed in a way that they would never have expected, then with that comes serious consequences," he said. "… Consequences that affect companies brands when theyre surprising consumers." As it is, companies are already sharing a great quantity of data, and the quantity is only going to increase. But at what price? Such data originates in a system of record. From there it gets repackaged, integrated with other data and perhaps shared again. What you wind up with is what Jonas refers to as cascading, or a waterfall of data, where its next to impossible to keep data tethered and current. Throw government involvement into the mix, and issues around privacy and expression of private data fast turns into civil liberties dilemmas. Next Page: Tips for corporations.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel