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Privacy and Information
Week 5
Computers and
Government
Thousands of government
offices and departments
exist
All use computers in some
manner
Most common uses
Data collection and
maintenance
Research
Code breaking
Defense
and?...
Big Brother
 More than 2000 government
databases exist
 We leave many data trails to
facilitate the collection of
information
 Government pushes their
rights to protect ours
Law Enforcement
 National Crime Information Center
 Help law-enforcement agencies share
info to catch criminals
 Benefits
any agency can access records
lots of info available
criminal histories
info on existing warrants
easy for intrastate usage
fingerprints
Law Enforcement
 Problems
lack of control of entry
lack of control of usage
ease of access by employees
 Abuse of power
 Invasion of privacy
 Inaccuracy
 Not every state is “in”
National ID Cards
Multi-purpose cards
Smart card microprocessor and
memory
used when interacting with
governments and banks,
medical
Benefits
Need to actuate the card to
verify identity
Harder to forge
Carry only one card
Reduces fraud
Prevents illegal work
Civilian applications of
government technologies
Economic espionage
Sharing of technology
between law enforcement
and other agencies
Military surveillance
technology used in civilian
applications
Threats to Privacy
 Government has
 wide scope of activities
 large amount a data
available
 power to require us to
provide information
 ability to use and misuse
databases
Computers have
facilitated....







the collection of data
analysis of data
storage of data
access of data
distribution of data
Reasons - speed and anonymity
Internet has broadened access to
information
Database
Program to help you store,
manage, search, analyze,
and access large amounts
of data
records
fields
Tree structure for search
Common Databases
 Employee ID
scanners
 Prescription drugs
 Bank machines
 Cellular phone
calls
 Browsing on Net cookies
 Sweepstakes
 Satellites
 Credit/Debit
cards
 Supermarket
scanners
 Electronic tolls
 Mail-order
transactions
 E-mail
Public records
 DMV
 Voter registration
 Birth and death
certificates
 Marriage
certificates
 Divorce records
 Property records
 Court records
 Arrest
records
 Postal
address
records
Confidential Records
 Social
welfare
information
 Tax
information
 School
records
 Public library
records
 Criminal
history
 Health
records
Internet and data
collection
 Cookies
 Search engines - quicker more
available info
 open ended nature of net - no rules
to define what is personal info
 newsgroup, chat rooms, e-mail
remains available for years
Purposes of Record
Systems
 Help agencies perform their
functions efficiently
 Determine eligibility for
government job
 Determine eligibility for benefits
programs
 Detect fraud
 Recover payments of delinquent
debt
Acquisition of Data
Census
Surveillance
Identification
Networking
Methods Used
 Computer matching
 Combining and comparing
information from different
databases
 Computer profiling
 using data in computer files to
determine characteristics of
people most likely to engage in
a certain behavior
Data Mining
Analyze to perform data
profiles
Create from customer files
then matches are made
Businesses and
governments keep records
and sell them
Data Mining Results
 Analysis of data for relationships that
have not been discovered
 Associations
one event can be correlated to
another
 Sequences
One event leads to another
 Classification
Recognition of patterns resulting
in new organizations
Data Mining Results
Continued
 Clustering
 Finding and visualizing groups
of facts not previously known
 Forcasting
 Discovering patterns in the data
that can lead to predictions
about the future
Data Mining Uses
Target customers
Advertise to current
customers
Manipulate markets
Select, monitor, and
control employees
Most common tool
Social security number
Social Security Number
 Major use for identification
 Linked to
 banking data
 credit report
 driving record
 earnings history
 work history
 .......
Credit Bureaus
 Provide a central storehouse
of information used to
evaluate applicants for credit
 data supplied by banks, stores,
and other businesses
 Public records - lawsuits,
liens, bankruptcies
Regulation of Credit
Bureaus
 Regulated by federal government
 Fair Credit Reporting Act
 can give information to
employers, government, and
insurance companies, and those
who need it for legitimate
purposes involving customer
 VAGUE?
Changes
 Legal right to get a copy of their
own report for free, and a list of
those who have requested it
 Prohibit employers from obtaining
reports without person’s
permission
 or at all except for special kinds
of jobs
Medical Records
 Data is personal and sensitive
 Can be used for marketing
purposes
 Hard to restrict due to varying
laws in different states
 Insurance benefits require
that we tell all
Technical and
Management Protections
 Each authorized user has unique
ID code and password
 Restrict operations of different
users in areas where they do not
need to go
 Use audit trails to track usage by
workers
 Computer records reduce handling
and potential reading
Risks due to databases
Unauthorized use by
people who maintain them
Access from intruders
Mishandling
Errors and potential
problems
Unintentional side-effects
Creep Phenomenon
If information is collected, it
will probably be used for
many purposes that were
not intended when the
project started
Biometrics
 Verification through unique
physical characteristics
 little fraud
 fingerprints
 DNA
 hand geometry
 facial recognition
 facial thermography
 Etc.