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NSA Revelation Leads FTC To Propose "Reclaim Your Name" Initiative 82

Posted by timothy
from the agency-vs.-agency-vs.-reality dept.
First time accepted submitter clegrand writes "Julie Brill, a member of the Federal trade Commission, has proposed a voluntary big data industry initiative to allow consumers access to their personal records and the ability to correct them. She has coined it 'Reclaim Your Name.' While some big data companies such as Acxiom already allow such access, it is not an industry-wide practice. She sees this campaign as a natural extension of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and a logical partner for the ongoing effort of the Do Not Track mechanism currently under standardization review with the W3C."
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NSA Revelation Leads FTC To Propose "Reclaim Your Name" Initiative

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  • Data Verification (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 29, 2013 @10:32AM (#44142001)

    Yes, they wouldn't want to be keeping inaccurate dossiers on you. Why with your cooperation there is no limit to what they can know about you. Terrorism will be a thing of the past. So of course that means that we can repeal the various Patriot type acts that the western world has been going gonzo over for the past decade.

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @11:42PM (#44145489)
      Exactly.

      If Ms. FTC wants to impress me, she can propose that we have access to that material and the ability to remove it, not to change it.

      I wouldn't want to change it. If some asshole screws me over because they were using faulty data, I might have a chance to sue. If I did their work for them and corrected their information, I'd pretty much be waiving any right I might have if they then used it against me somehow.
  • Good luck with that (Score:5, Interesting)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @10:43AM (#44142055)

    Good luck with that. There was an expose' a year or two ago on TV that I watched showing just how futile it is to try and correct ANY wrong negative info in your credit reports with any of the agencies. To the point that many agencies simply didn't do anything at all when you contact them, except send you around in circles (if you are even that lucky).

    So you can make all the laws you want, probably won't make a damn bit of difference. Plus, consumers have NO IDEA how many records are being kept about them and shared and aggregated and combined and by whom.

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Saturday June 29, 2013 @10:47AM (#44142085)

      Yeah, from their perspective individual inaccuracies aren't a huge deal. The only kind of inaccuracies that particularly matter to them are systemic ones that their actual customers, banks and lenders, care about. So e.g. if they were flagging large groups of would've-been-profitable folks or not flagging large groups of deadbeats, they might try to tweak their data-collection or score formula to reduce the rate of those false-positives or false-negatives. But that's all at a macro-level: much like Google, they don't care to resolve individual mistakes in a case-by-case manner.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @11:31AM (#44142275) Journal

        I purposefully introduce inaccuracies into corporate data sets.
        Slightly misspelled names, incorrect birth day/month/year, variable spellings of my street address.

        note: the post office has always gotten my mail to me, misspellings and everything,
        but it's enough to prevent lazy companies from matching that information to an existing profile.

        • I have the opposite problem with my post office. The address can be spelled perfectly but it might end up at my neighbor's house. I know this because it happens so frequently we all have to play nice or we'd all be missing bills, letters from friends, etc. When it gets really bad one or more of us will jump through the hoops to complain to the post office and it will get better for a while, and then slide right back to where it is now.

      • "... they don't care to resolve individual mistakes in a case-by-case manner."

        Hogwash.

        These guys want accurate information, as finely grained as they can get. If they are looking at networks of people, then a single incorrect connection can lead to much barking up the wrong tree. My guess is that there has been a huge uptick in garbage data being sent in response to the NSA being exposed, and now they need to start sorting through all of that garbage.

        This is a ploy to correct what they know is incorrect dat

    • There was an expose' a year or two ago on TV that I watched showing just how futile it is to try and correct ANY wrong negative info in your credit reports with any of the agencies.

      It can make Kafka look like a realist. About a year ago I did a refi w/ the bank that held my mortgage (Wells Fargo) to lower the interest rate. No problem. I figured while I was at it I'd get a small HELOC to put a new roof and siding on (you actually can't get a HELOC as small as I wanted, but you don't have to use all the money either). I was turned down because one of the ratings agencies gave me a poor credit score, which surprised me because I'd always had a pretty good one. I asked what the big black

  • If a lot of libertarians are right, this initiative will rapidly be adopted. After all, it's in many businesses interests to have accurate information, and in individual consumer's interests to correct their own info. Libertarian theory says that the free market should have a lot of incentive to correct for bad info.
    My own bet is that this will not happen. Fifty years from now, most of the organizations that 'should' voluntarily embrace this initiative, will still be igno

    • by sjames (1099)

      Perhaps the pumpkin patch isn't sincere enough?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      . After all, it's in many businesses interests to have accurate information

      agreed.

      and in individual consumer's interests to correct their own info.

      Maybe, maybe not. Depends on their goals. Being obscured would suit some (many?) people just fine. It depends what value people assign to different things.

      Libertarian theory says that the free market should have a lot of incentive to correct for bad info.

      In a free market environment without corporations (government-granted exemptions from liability) and cour

      • . After all, it's in many businesses interests to have accurate information

        agreed.

        I used to agree, but I'm not sure anymore that that's true of credit ratings. The correlation between credit rating and the probability of you paying back a loan is very poor. Furthermore what it takes to go from a very good credit rating to a poor one is surprisingly small, like a few late payments, and serious credit issues like having a house foreclosed on or not paying back a car loan don't seem to have a proportionately large effect. I strongly suspect that banks largely used credit ratings as an excus

      • And also markets that aren't artificially manipulated

        And there's your fundamental flaw: since property is itself an artificial creation, there can be not exchange of it, no market, that does not involve artifice.

        • since property is itself an artificial creation

          A given implementation of property rights has some artificial trappings, but even insects implement property rights by defending marked territories. Every animal has this idea hard-wired in. Heck, one could stretch the argument to walnut trees.

          Georgists tend to ignore Nature in their search for an abstract ideal.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @11:20AM (#44142225)

      What the hell are you talking about?

      Libertarianism is a set of related political philosophies that uphold liberty as the highest political end. This includes emphasis on the primacy of individual liberty, political freedom, and voluntary association. It is the antonym to authoritarianism. Libertarians advocate a society with a greatly reduced state or no state at all

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism [wikipedia.org]

      Libertarianism is about individual liberty, period. They believe that liberty is a human right, and no public need is great enough to give cause to remove it from the individual. It has absolutely nothing to do with this story. From the Libertarians point of view the FTC and even the credit burrows wouldn't exist, as both limit the liberty of the individual through regulation. Libertarians believe the only laws and regulations that should be created are ones that increase Liberty and prevent authoritarian control of the populace by Government or other citizens. i.e. Murder would be illegal because it obviously takes liberty away from the victim.

      Please don't talk shit about political philosophies you clearly know absolutely nothing about.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Otherwise known as the "Fuck you, got mine" philosophy of political thought.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Curunir_wolf (588405)

          Otherwise known as the "Fuck you, got mine" philosophy of political thought.

          No, you're thinking of welfare-state progressivism, which guarantees basic living expenses, health care and control of property for certain groups regardless of their contribution, and fuck you if you want any freedom or opportunity to work your way to a better class.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Otherwise known as the fallacious bootstraps argument. Hard work =/= getting ahead.

            • Otherwise known as the fallacious bootstraps argument. Hard work =/= getting ahead.

              Whoosh! In fact it can, unless the government takes every little thing they deem "too much", and it becomes not even possible. Incestuous relations between big government and big business have virtually destroyed social mobility over the last 40 years, and Obama is even now stating explicitly that he wants "the middle class" to "stay there."

              • ...Obama is even now stating explicitly that he wants "the middle class" to "stay there."

                As opposed to letting them continue to slide as a class into poverty, yep.

                • ...Obama is even now stating explicitly that he wants "the middle class" to "stay there."

                  As opposed to letting them continue to slide as a class into poverty, yep.

                  Oh, yes, can't "let" them move, can't "let" them get ahead, can't "let" them struggle, can't "let" anyone do anything to unbalance the status-quo, or challenge the elites that run everything. Already we have re-defined the "American Dream" - it now means "just getting by". Bread to eat, circuses to watch, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

            • Otherwise known as the fallacious bootstraps argument. Hard work =/= getting ahead.

              It'd be fallacious only if it weren't true. Sadly, in spite of your narrow and ill-informed view, hard work does indeed == getting ahead for many people every day all over the world.

        • by chihowa (366380)

          Abusive monopolies and massive quasi-governmental corporations practically fall into the same category as the state, so (little "L") libertarians would be opposed to them as well. Libertarianism doesn't exclude the use of regulation for the preservation of liberty. As the GP stated, there would still be laws concerning murder, etc.

          Robber barons and feudal lords may be the poster child of (capital "L") Libertarianism, but not (lowercase "L") libertarianism.

    • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @03:45PM (#44143697)

      The most commonly ignored factor in most theories is human nature.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 29, 2013 @10:45AM (#44142067)

    http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/Protection-of-freedoms-in-France

  • I don't see how. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    While some big data companies such as Acxiom already allow such access, ...

    Really? How? None of the articles say so..

    All that's mentioned is this:

    Acxiom, announced that it plans to open its dossiers so that consumers can see the information the company holds about them.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I have plans to call you in the morning and I have plans to put the check in the mail.

  • by Rougement (975188) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @10:59AM (#44142135)
    "Voluntary" and "ability to correct them" How about "compulsory" "removal" of my data if I should choose?
  • Everyone should go back and read about what the NSA program has been collecting. There are no dossiers in the programs that have recently come to light; it's metadata, and in some cases raw data. The phone information, for example, is which numbers called which other numbers and for how long. It's not like a credit report where there is derivative information; they go to the database when they want to look up associations between entities. Creating dossiers on hundreds of millions of people at random is

    • Re:Back up a bit. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @11:21AM (#44142231)

      Everyone should go back and read about what the NSA program has been collecting. There are no dossiers in the programs that have recently come to light; it's metadata, and in some cases raw data. The phone information, for example, is which numbers called which other numbers and for how long. It's not like a credit report where there is derivative information; they go to the database when they want to look up associations between entities. Creating dossiers on hundreds of millions of people at random is hugely wasteful, since (conservatively) 99.9999% of the time it'd be a total waste of time and the person would never be of interest. The NSA isn't dumb when it comes to this stuff, ethical concerns about whether they should be doing it aside.

      Your whole premise is based on what has recently come to light. What has most people concerned is what hasn't come to light. I would suppose that the FBI isn't dumb either and yet they kept files on millions of people without strong reason to during Hoover's reign.

      You say that creating dossiers on hundreds of millions of peole is hugely wasteful. I would agree, but then again, DASD is cheap and when has the government been known to be frugal in its endeavors, especially when it involves secret operations?

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      you forget that the justification for collecting the metadata is for filtering for activity which is a cause for collecting more data.
      it's for so that they know which data they need to go after if they want person XYZ's data.

      but this is more about the problem that corporations in america can do anything with your data, even if inaccurate. you lack the data protection directive which is pretty much what caught many companies including facebook with their pants down in eu.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The NSA has a massive amount of processing power at their fingertips and storage is cheap enough to make holding billion or more dossiers inconsequential.

      You are right that the NSA isn't dumb so I would bet the data collected will be used in every way at their disposal.

      http://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/ [kieranhealy.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's everything unencrypted across the internet. Your searches, your email content if not encrypted, your URLs, your passwords to anything unencrypted. All is filed away. 100% of it. Your phone metadata, including location data (yes Clapper is lying to Congress again, we know already location data is collected by the NSA). Who you donate to, what you read, all the comments you made, your anon slashdot posts, everything. An additional feed comes in from the UK taps. That's even bigger.

      http://www.guardian.co.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/depth-review-new-nsa-documents-expose-how-americans-can-be-spied-without-warrant

      "The targeting document also exposes the government’s deceptive strategy to down-play their gigantic database of all the phone call records of Americans, obtained by misusing Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. They collect all information on who you call and how long the call lasts, but as President Obama emphatically stated "There are no names." Maybe not in that database, but the docum

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @11:40AM (#44142327)

    Suppose that I as a private person collected data about people, did not correct errors, and passed it around to the world as I see fit. If a credit agency can do that and be immune from suits or criminal charges what concept in American law permits a credit bureau to do it? Seems like equal before the law resides in the toilet.

    • Seems like equal before the law resides in the toilet.

      Heh.. you're just *now* figuring *that* out???? Some of us have known *that* fact for a LONG time....

    • Suppose that I as a private person collected data about people, did not correct errors, and passed it around to the world as I see fit. If a credit agency can do that and be immune from suits or criminal charges what concept in American law permits a credit bureau to do it? Seems like equal before the law resides in the toilet.

      You can take them to court, represent yourself, and beat them. Maybe the answer is for everyone with credit history errors to sue.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Funny how the bill does not apparently allow suing any data collector for inaccuracies, which might have already impacted somebody's life.

    Instead, you are being magnanimously allowed to increase the value of the data by correcting the mistakes.

    For free.

    If details of my life are a product, why am I not allowed to trademark it?

    • Funny how the bill does not apparently allow suing any data collector for inaccuracies, which might have already impacted somebody's life.

      This. The whole idea is to sell it to the public as a "consumer protection" measure, but when the final passes it will actually do more to protect the credit bureaus and other corporations that collect data. Right now you have some ability to sue for damages from a company spreading inaccurate information - do doubt this bill will end up eliminating that with a liability waiver clause.

  • Why would I want the Panopticon to have correct data? Improving the accuracy of the data would only make it more economically attractive to collect even more data.

    No, I want the data to be as inaccurate as possible. If they give access to data it seems best to change any correct facts to inaccurate non-facts.

  • Why the hell would I want to do that?

    I say lets inject even more noise into them. That won't matter if you're using the data for statistical purposes, and it gives some (alas, not much) plausible deniability for everything else.

  • I agree with the other posts, Good Luck With That.

    But a couple other thoughts come to mind -- as we know, credit reports are sometimes (notoriously) inaccurate. What a great way for the gov't and industry to get more accurate information about you, for their various reports and metrics, by recruiting YOU to correct it for them, free of charge?

    I agree with the aforementioned broadcast in that ultimately, the credit report industry is a huge scam of sorts, benefiting only one side of the market. One day,

  • And how does $BIGDATACO know that it is ME changing the data relating to me?

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

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