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Privacy & Security News December 8.2000
IE security bug leaves files vulnerable
IE feature can track Web surfers without warning
Recently, Computerworld reported that online merchant Amazon.com was arbitrarily charging different prices to different customers on DVDs. Logging on to Amazon using Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator resulted higher or lower prices for the same movie.
Several contributors to forums on Slashdot.com, thedvdforums.com and talk.dvdtalk.com were outraged, claiming that Amazon was measuring the price sensitivity of shoppers and raising prices for those identified as "suckers."
When contacted, an Amazon spokesperson responded that the price differences were merely a test to evaluate the effects of several site variables including price, page layout and content. Amazon denied that the price differences were based on a user profile.
Price discrimination is nothing new. Catalogue merchants have been know to issue different catalogues to different customers based on past purchases. Online price discrimination is a little more problematic because it's very easy to perform and the shopper is usually not even aware that it's going on.
A contributor to Slashdot jokingly suggested that online shoppers could sell browser cookies to one another. If your user profile suggests you'll pay high prices for Mozart CDs but have no interest in Beethoven, you might sell your cookie to (or trade with) a Beethoven fan who could then buy Beethoven at a discount or at least at the regular price.
But instead of trading cookies with other shoppers, you can manage
your online profiles with tools like Freedom and save yourself from a
merchant's discriminatory label. As profiling techniques get more and
more sophisticated, the economic value of a personal profile will
become more apparent and those with the foresight to keep their
personal data from becoming public domain will be better able to
realize its economic value.
Web bugs can be placed in Word and Excel documents
Some of the nation's largest corporations want to spend $80 million on an advertising campaign to help ease consumers' online-privacy fears
New Website launched to oppose Carnivore
INTERNET users can avoid having their e-mails intercepted by the British government if they follow some simple advice
published this week by two leading Internet security experts.
Online marketers propose privacy standards
FBI releases first batch of Carnivore documents
Commentary: Hacker attack stresses network security Although the majority of virus attacks don't lead to the same level of
information compromise Microsoft may have suffered, attacks targeted at acquiring or destroying specific data are growing rapidly.
Microsoft hackers had access for weeks
Microsoft computer network hacked; FBI steps in
Microsoft hack puts spotlight on tech espionage
Democrats: 'Big Browser' is Watching. Wired, 16 October 2001.
Motorola demands your consumer data. ZD Net, 8 October 2001.
Critics blast FBI's first release of Carnivore documents. CNET News.com, 2 October 2001.
New documents shed more light on FBI's Carnivore
Report finds risk but supports Carnivore email surveillance The Illinois Institute of Technology concludes that the FBI's
controversial email surveillance system "does not provide protections, especially audit functions, commensurate with the level of the risks."
British Spies Want 7 Year Records
AOL Instant Messenger Security Flaw
Yahoo Encrypted Email
British Spies Want 7 Year Records
Privacy advocates wary of data-sharing standard
Security Flaw in Windows Media Player
Online ad companies hit with privacy suits
A Great Little Cookie Cleaner
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