fms351-L11-reading02 - fhe prornise eind the peril of...

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fhe prornise eind the peril of social eiction in cybercpoce Elhos, delivery, nnd the protects over tlorketPlcce and the Clipper chipl Louro J. Gurok In April 1990, Lotus Development Corporation announced a product called Market- Place: Households. MarketPlace was to be a direct mail marketing database for Macintosh computers and would contain name, address, and spending habit information on 120 million individual American consumers. After MarketPlace was announced, computer privacy advocates began investigating the product. Although most of the data contained in MarketPlace were already available (data were provided by Equifax, tl-re second largest credit reporting agency in the United States), privacy advocates felt tlat MarketPlace went far beyond current standards for privacy protection. From Lotus's first announcement until months after it canceled the product, t}e Internet was full of discussions about MarketPlace; soon, debates about the privacy implications of MarketPlace and suggestions for contacting Lotus began to circulate. People posted Lotus's address and phone number, the email address of Lotus's chief executive officer (CEO), and also gave information about how to request that names be removed from the database. Some people posted "form letters" tlat could be sent to Lotus. Notices were forwarded around the Internet, reposted to other newsgroups, and sent off as email messages. In one case, a discussion group was formed specifically to discuss tl-re product. As a result of the Internet-based protest, over 30,000 people contacted Lotus and asked that their names be removed from t}e database. The product, which had been scheduled to be released during the third quarter of 7990, was never
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44 COLLECTIVE ACTION released. In the end, many acknowledged the role of online action in stopping the release of MarketPlace. Some suis"quently "ull"d it a "victory for computer populism" (Winner 1991). Afewyearslater,anot}reractiontookplaceincyberspace.ThecaseoftheClipper chip is based on a long history ofencrlption technology' Encrlption involves the use ofa mat-hematical algorithm to *scramble" electronic messages' The message sender encodes the message "rrJr"rrd, it out across the electronic medium; the person on t1e receiving end must then use the corresponding decryption algorithm to descramble the message so that he or she can actually *ua *i understand it. Encryption is used for security and privacy purPoses, and its use dates back well before electronic technology' The controversy, however, surrounding the Clipper chip involved the federal government,s propo."d use and ownership oith" ".t.rJption algorithm. Clipper is the name of a specific encryption chip that "orrld b" inserted in a telephone handset' when a call was made, the transmission would be scrambled' tl}en descrambled at the receiving end. The technology itself is not what caused privacy and free speech advocates on the Internet to become alarmed' Instead, the ptoblem' as they saw
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This note was uploaded on 10/20/2010 for the course ENG FMS351 taught by Professor Meng during the Summer '10 term at ASU.

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fms351-L11-reading02 - fhe prornise eind the peril of...

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