May 17, 2000
What do you call a household with a computer and a teenager? An open book. While Mom and Dad are pushing bank statements and canceled checks through a paper shredder as a safeguard, chances are junior is in the next room shredding the family's privacy - online, bit by byte. A new study shows that teens say it's fine - cool, even - to hand over personal details in return for the prizes offered by online marketers. Nearly two out of three teens will name favorite stores. A third will reveal their allowances, and whether their parents talk politics at home.
December 1, 1996 |
Of the many forecasts for the next century, a safe one is that privacy will be a goner. The computer is already leading to that in medical recordkeeping, personal buying patterns and even in tracking our physical whereabouts. And we're only in the beginning stages of keeping tabs on everything about everyone. Every now and then, there's an outrageous assault on privacy, such as the recent surfacing of thousands of AIDS patients' names from a supposedly secure filing system.
August 16, 2005 |
TELL ME again, what's wrong with "judicial activism"? In recent years, those have become dirty words, with even liberals attacking conservative judges for being too "activist. " But thank goodness that, 40 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court didn't shrink from what some people call activism when it overturned a Connecticut law that made it a crime for married couples to use contraception - or for others to help them get it. In Griswold v. Connecticut, the court said that guarantees inferred, although not precisely stated, in several constitutional amendments make up a "right to privacy," a right to be protected from government interference in intimate decisions.
October 29, 2007 |
DREW Barrymore makes out enthusiastically, vigorously, and in public with every new man in her life . . . those she marries and those she doesn't. J-Lo has trumpeted every detail of her life with numerous soul mates (three husbands and several assorted exes) but is keeping her apparent pregnancy private. Britney/Lindsey/Nicole/Paris (are they really separate people?) ensure that the paparazzi are there at (practically) every door opening to take photos of them with and without panties, but proclaim their desire for "privacy" as they enter/exit/re-enter rehab and jail.
April 29, 2003 |
WORDS ARE powerful. Sometimes, they give us a glimpse into a person's soul, translate unexpressed thoughts into cogent principles or simply entertain us for a few hours. But sometimes words are insidious. Taken out of context, given a spin, they can assume a life of their own. Ask the Dixie Chicks. A few poorly chosen comments from their lead singer about her disaffection with the president, and the dazzling darlings of country drew the ire of patriots and music lovers across the nation.
April 26, 1991 |
Not too long ago, I went to buy some speaker wire - a total purchase of less than $10, as I recall. The clerk took my cash and then did the usual fandango on the computer. Lots of keys were punched. "The last four digits of your telephone number, please," he asked. No way, said I. The clerk was insistent. The computer demanded it, he said. Here, in a single incident, was much that I consider evil in the world. Here, in other words, was someone taking orders from a machine and insisting I do the same.
January 24, 1991 |
Two companies yesterday scrapped plans to sell a computer program that could reveal detailed information about the shopping and personal habits of 120 million Americans. A person or business using the program would have been able to identify couples, say, who might be interested in financial services. Or the names and addresses of affluent elderly widows. Or single women over 35 years old living in a particular city. But after a maelstrom of complaints - and 30,000 requests from consumers asking to be deleted from the database - Lotus Development Corp.
February 11, 2010 |
If you own a cell phone, you should care about the outcome of a case scheduled to be argued in federal appeals court in Philadelphia tomorrow. It could well decide whether the government can use your cell phone to track you - even if it hasn't shown probable cause to believe it will turn up evidence of a crime. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology will ask the court to require that the government at least show probable cause before it can track your whereabouts.
March 15, 1989 |
If someone raps on your door or rings your bell, the sensible response is to ask: "Who's there?" There's nothing impolite about the question. You have a right to know who is standing outside your door, and why, before you open it. Or if you have a peephole, you can look out. If a Girl Scout is standing there with boxes of cookies, you can safely slide the bolt. On the other hand, if you see a man with a ski mask over his face, it would be wise to grab the phone and call the cops.
February 25, 2013
Alan Westin, 83, one of the first and most widely respected scholars to explore the issues of privacy in the information age, died Monday at a hospice in Saddle River, N.J. He had cancer, his son, Jeremy Westin, said. A professor of public law and government, Mr. Westin taught at Columbia University for nearly four decades. Through his prolific academic writing and frequent media appearances, he became nationally known as one of the most knowledgeable, prescient, and reasonable voices on privacy questions in modern society.