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Acxiom, ChoicePoint, Abacus - The Corporate NSAs

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I wanted to bring everyone attention to companies like Acxiom, Choice, Abacus. These companies have the largest PRIVATE databases of all your internet and purchasing activities...


They know you internet activities by the partnerships with DoubleClick that track you with "Third-Party" cookies.


Acxiom was profiled by David Faber of CNBC in "Big Brother - Big Business"


Here is a report detailing the governments cooperation with these companies regarding "intelligence gathering activities..."




Published on Monday, August 9, 2004 by Wired News


The Emerging 'Surveillance-Industrial Complex'


Big Business Becoming Big Brother


by Kim Zetter


The government is increasingly using corporations to do its surveillance work, allowing it to get around restrictions that protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, according to a report released Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that works to protect civil liberties.


Data aggregators -- companies that aggregate information from numerous private and public databases -- and private companies that collect information about their customers are increasingly giving or selling data to the government to augment its surveillance capabilities and help it track the activities of people.


Because laws that restrict government data collection don't apply to private industry, the government is able to bypass restrictions on domestic surveillance. Congress needs to close such loopholes, the ACLU said, before the exchange of information gets out of hand.


"Americans would really be shocked to discover the extent of the practices that are now common in both industry and government," said the ACLU's Jay Stanley, author of the report. "Industry and government know that, so they have a strong incentive to not publicize a lot of what's going on."


Last year, JetBlue Airways acknowledged that it secretly gave defense contractor Torch Concepts 5 million passenger itineraries for a government project on passenger profiling without the consent of the passengers. The contractor augmented the data with passengers' Social Security numbers, income information and other personal data to test the feasibility of a screening system called CAPPS II. That project was slated to launch later this year until the government scrapped it. Other airlines also contributed data to the project.


Information about the data-sharing project came to light only by accident. Critics like Stanley say there are many other government projects like this that are proceeding in secret.


The ACLU released the Surveillance-Industrial Complex report in conjunction with a new website designed to educate the public about how information collected from them is being used.


The report listed three ways in which government agencies obtain data from the private sector: by purchasing the data, by obtaining a court order or simply by asking for it. Corporations freely share information with government agencies because they don't want to appear to be unpatriotic, they hope to obtain future lucrative Homeland Security contracts with the government or they fear increased government scrutiny of their business practices if they don't share.


But corporations aren't the only ones giving private data to the government. In 2002, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors voluntarily gave the FBI the names and addresses of some 2 million people who had studied scuba diving in previous years. And a 2002 survey found that nearly 200 colleges and universities gave the FBI information about students. Most of these institutions provided the information voluntarily without having received a subpoena.


Collaborative surveillance between government and the private sector is not new. For three decades during the Cold War, for example, telegraph companies like Western Union, RCA Global and International Telephone and Telegraph gave the National Security Agency, or NSA, all cables that went to or from the United States. Operation Shamrock, which ran from 1945 to 1975, helped the NSA compile 75,000 files on individuals and organizations, many of them involved in peace movements and civil disobedience.


These days, the increasing amount of electronic data that is collected and stored, along with developments in software technology, make it easy for the government to sort through mounds of data quickly to profile individuals through their connections and activities.


Although the Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the government from keeping dossiers on Americans unless they are the specific target of an investigation, the government circumvents the legislation by piggybacking on private-sector data collection.


Corporations are not subject to congressional oversight or Freedom of Information Act requests -- two methods for monitoring government activities and exposing abuses. And no laws prevent companies from voluntarily sharing most data with the government.


"The government is increasingly ... turning to private companies, which are not subject to the law, and buying or compelling the transfer of private data that it could not collect itself," the report states.


A government proposal for a national ID card, for example, was shot down by civil liberties groups and Congress for being too intrusive and prone to abuse. And Congress voted to cancel funding for John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness, a national database that would have tracked citizens' private transactions such as Web surfing, bank deposits and withdrawals, doctor visits, travel itineraries and visa and passport applications.


But this hasn't stopped the government from achieving the same ends by buying similar data from private aggregators like Acxiom, ChoicePoint, Abacus and LexisNexis. According to the ACLU, ChoicePoint's million-dollar contracts with the Justice Department, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies let authorities tap into its billions of records to track the interests, lifestyles and activities of Americans.


By using corporations, the report said, the government can set up a system of "distributed surveillance" to create a bigger picture than it could create with its own limited resources and at the same time "insulate surveillance and information-handling practices from privacy laws or public scrutiny."


Most of the transactions people make are with the private sector, not the government. So the amount of data available through the private sector is much greater.


Every time people withdraw money from an ATM, buy books or CDs, fill prescriptions or rent cars, someone else, somewhere, is collecting information about them and their transactions. On its own, each bit of information says little about the person being tracked. But combined with health and insurance records, bank loans, divorce records, election contributions and political activities, corporations can create a detailed dossier.


And studies show that Americans trust corporations more than they trust their government, so they're more likely to give companies their information freely. A 2002 phone survey about a proposed national ID plan, conducted by Gartner, found respondents preferred private industry -- such as bank or credit card companies -- to administer a national ID system rather than the government.


Stanley said most people are unaware how information about them is passed on to government agencies and processed.


"People have a right to know just how information about them is being used and combined into a high-resolution picture of (their) life," Stanley said.


Although the Privacy Act attempted to put stops on government surveillance, Stanley said that its authors did not anticipate the explosion in private-sector data collection.


"It didn't anticipate the growth of data aggregators and the tremendous amount of information that they're able to put together on virtually everyone or the fact that the government could become customers of these companies," Stanley said.


Although the report focused primarily on the flow of data from corporations to the government, data flow actually goes both ways. The government has shared its watch lists with the private sector, opening the way for potential discrimination against customers who appear on the lists. Under section 314 of the Patriot Act, the government can submit a suspect list to financial institutions to see whether the institution has conducted transactions with any individuals or organizations on the list. But once the government shares the list, nothing prevents the institution from discriminating against individuals or organizations on the list.


After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI circulated a watch list to corporations that contained hundreds of names of people the FBI was interested in talking to, although the people were not under investigation or wanted by the FBI. Companies were more than happy to check the list against the names of their customers. And if they used the list for other purposes, it's difficult to know. The report notes that there is no way to determine how many job applicants might have been denied work because their names appeared on the list.


"It turns companies into sheriff's deputies, responsible not just for feeding information to the government, but for actually enforcing the government's wishes, for example by effectively blacklisting anyone who has been labeled as a suspect under the government's less-than-rigorous procedures for identifying risks," the report states.


Last March, the Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee, created by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to examine government data mining, issued a report (PDF) stating that "rapid action is necessary" to establish clear guidelines for responsible government data mining.


The ACLU's Stanley said companies are in the initial stages of the Homeland Security gold rush to get government contracts, and that the public and Congress need to do something before policies and practices of private-sector surveillance solidify.


"Government security agencies always have a hunger for more and more information," said Stanley. "It's only natural. It makes it easier for law enforcement if they have access to as much info as they want. But it's crucial that policy makers and political leaders balance the needs of law enforcement and the value of privacy that Americans have always expected and enjoyed."




CNBC Special Report: Big Brother, Big Business


Technology is being used to monitor Americans more than ever before






Updated: 10:38 a.m. PT Nov 6, 2006


Every day technologies are being used to monitor Americans with unprecedented scrutiny -- from driving habits to workplace surveillance. Shoppers and diners are observed and analyzed; Internet searches are monitored and used as evidence in court.


It is big business that collects most of the data about us. But increasingly, it's the government that's using it.


In a Special Report airing Thursday at 9pm and midnight ET, "Big Brother Big Business," CNBC takes a look at the companies behind the powerful business of personal information and the people whose lives are affected by it, including: a woman who lost her job due to mistaken identity; a man whose cell phone records were stolen by his former employer; a woman whose personal information was stolen from a company she had never heard of; a man who discovered his rental car company was tracking his every move.


The documentary also looks at how the FBI, the Border Patrol, police departments and schools are using biometric technologies to establish identity as well as an inside peek at an AOL division that works solely to satisfy the requests of law enforcement for information about AOL's members.




1984 is here...





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Man Sues Florist for Revealing Affair - Corp NSA


Man Sues Florist for Revealing Affair


Posted: Monday, August 13, 2007 7:30 AM by Noah Oppenheim


Categories: Noah Oppenheim


Today we brought you what appears to be another Hall of Fame entry in the Annals of Insane Lawsuits. Leroy Greer, a car salesman, called 1-800-flowers.com and sent flowers to his girlfriend. 1-800-flowers.com subsequently sent a receipt to Leroy's house. The trouble? Leroy shares his house with his wife, who thus discovered Leroy has a girlfriend.


Leroy says, at the time, he had been in the process of getting divorced, but had hoped to reconcile with this wife. Now she's set on splitting and demanding a much larger settlement. He's asked for $1 million from the florist. But, so far, the florist ain't paying.


Upon hearing his story, most of us instinctually think Leroy's a little nuts. He's not exactly a sympathetic character, and it's hard to imagine anyone being a 'victim' because their extramarital affair was discovered.


But in fairness to poor Leroy, 1-800-flowers.com does appear to have made a mistake. He explicitly asked them not to send anything to his home, and they assured him that wouldn't happen. If his account is accurate, they proffered a service – discretely delivering flowers – and they failed to deliver.


Now, pretend for a moment that those flowers were intended for a surprise Anniversary Party. Let's say that rather than cheating on his wife, Leroy had invested countless hours and thousands of dollars planning a surprise bash celebrating her. And let's say that by sending a receipt to their house, 1-800-flowers.com had ruined that surprise, undoing months of planning and leading to the loss of all that money spent on deposits, decorations, travel for friends, etc. Would Leroy deserve some sort of compensation in return?


If you think so, then you have to acknowledge Leroy's lawsuit might not be insane after all. The morality of his behavior should be irrelevant to the responsibility the florist bears for doing what they promise.




Are Corporations attacking citizens now? :)





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E-ZPass Makes It Easy to Catch Cheaters - Corp NSA


E-ZPass Makes It Easy to Catch Cheaters


Technological Conveniences Leave Digital Trails




Aug. 13, 2007


A cheating spouse used to get caught by accident. Perhaps a lipstick smudge on a collar or a credit card bill for a gift not received by a wife would give the affair away. But today's cheaters leave evidence that just can't be explained as easily away.


A wife who thinks her husband is cheating today probably doesn't have to get her hands dirty to get the goods on him. Evidence could be on the family's E-ZPass bill.


E-ZPass, a little white box on windshields many use as a timesaver at backed-up tollbooths, may turn out to be the undoing of a philandering mate.


"You can follow people on E-ZPass, credit cards, text messages, e-mails, bank records, ATMs. Love is everywhere," divorce lawyer Jacalyn Barrett said. "E-ZPass is the easy way to find out who's telling the truth."


But privacy advocates say the truth shouldn't be so readily available.


"Should it be on the individual to basically lock himself up and turn himself into a hermit in order to protect his privacy or do we want a society that actually respects our privacy, even as we use all the conveniences and tools of everyday life?" said Lee Tien, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


E-ZPass is an electronic toll system in 12 states. Seven of those states will release those records in response to court orders involving civil cases, including divorce. Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania only will release records in criminal cases.


In 2004, New Jersey nurse Melanie McGuire was accused of killing her husband, cutting up his body and discarding it into the Chesapeake Bay. She was convicted this year, in part because prosecutors were able to reconstruct her movements based on her E-ZPass records.


"There is a cost to the convenience factor," Tien said, "but I think the deeper message is do we want to say that whatever you do you're going be tracked."


And it is not just E-ZPass. From BlackBerries to iPhones, the digital trail leads everywhere. Last week a Texas husband sued 1-800-Flowers for providing his wife with information about flowers he'd sent to another woman.




Another example of Corporations have too much information!!! :)


Be Warned!





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Cell Phone Numbers for Sale? - The Corporate NSAs


Personal Cell Phone Numbers Are Only a Click Away


Web site Sells Cell Phone Numbers and Other Personal Information




Home phone numbers have been available to the public for a long time, so many Americans treasure the fact that their cell numbers can be kept private -- or so they think. Now, all it takes is a few bucks and Internet access to find tens of millions of personal cell phone numbers.


A Web site named Intelius has created a clearinghouse of cell phone numbers that can be purchased online for $15 each. Its source -- every business and company you've ever provided with your personal information.


"We do pay for the data, everything from government agencies to third party companies, where we compile a lot of this information together," said Ed Peterson, vice president of sales and marketing at Intelius.


Intelius already has 90 million cell phone numbers, and it's adding 70 million more in the coming days, along with the addresses that go with them.


"Frankly, it's the Wild West when it comes to our personal information," said Avivah Litan, director of research at Gartner Inc.


Intelius claims it is providing a public service that will help parents track down who is calling their children, or families checking on a nanny, but many individuals are upset that their information can be bought online.


ABC's David Muir attempted to buy the records of three people he approached today in New York City, and they were shocked to learn he'd purchased every cell phone number and address they ever had.


Intelius even had the number of a minor.


"That's my son … he's 14," said Winsome Jones.


"You can't even assume that minors have privacy rights. Maybe this is a wake-up call once we see congressmen's cell phone numbers on the Internet. Maybe they'll finally start acting, but the data brokers are not regulated," Lihtan said. "No one's looking over their shoulder and saying you can or cannot do this."


And until Congress takes action, Intelius' business of selling personal information is perfectly legal.


If you want to opt-out of having your information listed in Intelius' database, log-on to http://www.intelius.com/privacy-faq.php#5




In latest HORRIFYING corporate action against AMERICAN CITIZENS, this company has 140 MILLION cell phone numbers and CELL CALLING RECORDS for SALE!!!




It needs to be stopped! And soon! But the damage will done by the time legisation comes into affect if and when?....


I'm glad I've never owned a cell phone...





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