Privacy groups are known to put a lot of effort into attacking
new technologies for a reason. They are concerned that, once
the technology is seen in action, we won't be scared by its
hypothetical risks, while its benefits will be easier to assess.
Once that happens, imposing new privacy laws gets a lot harder.
To see just how fast that cycle can run, let's take a trip
down privacy's memory lane.
"Remember, since Gmail is scanning and extracting incoming
e-mails as well, even if you aren't a Gmail user, your privacy
may still be violated by Gmail. To avoid such scanning, keep an eye
on the domain of e-mail addresses to which you are you are sending
If you get an e-mail from a Gmail account and you wish not to
reply consider explaining something like this:
I have received your e-mail, but due to privacy concerns, I
don't want to send my response to your Gmail account. Please
give me another e-mail address where I can reach you. If you
don't have another e-mail address, consider the following free
e-mail accounts with generous storage which do not pose the same
Rediffmail(1GB + no content extraction)
Walla(1GB + no content extraction)
Spymac(1GB + no content extraction)
Aventure-mail(2GB + no content extraction)
For more information on the privacy risks posed by Gmail, see
On the whole, I'd say that, for all her travails, Britney is
holding up a lot better than EPIC's advice.
The point is not that privacy groups have a hair-trigger for
"creepiness" claims, though they do. The point is that
EPIC's musty language felt entirely plausible just eight years
ago. If the privacy groups had succeeded and Sen. Figueroa's
legislation had passed, we'd still be waiting for the
regulations to be finished and the first appellate decisions to be
handed down. Webmail providers would still be struggling with fears
of legal liability, and 425 million consumers would have fewer
All to protect us from a privacy scare that's already as
dated as disco.
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The 2010 theft of an unencrypted laptop containing confidential health care information made front-page news in 2013, not because a huge number of patients were affected, but for the exact opposite reason.
Any company that collects personal data from consumers should take proactive steps to have appropriate legal counsel review its data security practices, as well as its terms of service or privacy practices, to identify any potential problem areas.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published on its website a series of factsheets designed to educate consumers unfamiliar with their rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules.