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IP: You think this database anonymizes entries? [Best use a payphone in an airport or .... djf] (fwd)

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
  Date: Wed, 09 Oct 1996 17:46:40 -0400
  From: Dave Farber <farber@central.cis.upenn.edu>
  To: interesting-people mailing list <interesting-people@eff.org>
  Subject: IP: You think this database anonymizes entries? [Best use a payphone in an airport or .... djf]
  Date: Wed, 9 Oct 1996 11:38:58 PDT
  From: [Identity withheld by request] [from Risks]
  Subject: You think this database anonymizes entries?
  Here's an interesting example of Info-War.
  Many of us have seen and heard the television and radio commercials for a
  new in-home HIV test that is accurate, fast, and anonymous.
  The test works as follows:
  You buy the kit.  Go home and follow the directions and obtain a sample.
  Mail the sample to the lab.  In 3 days, call the lab and enter in the
  `secret' code and the results of the test performed on the sample matching
  your `secret' code will be revealed to you.  The secret code is used to
  ensure anonymity so the user doesn't have to reveal their name.
  Accurate? I believe so..
  Fast? Three days is pretty fast..
  Anonymous? Not at all!!! And here's why.
  Whenever you call a 1-800 number, your phone number is captured and
  forwarded to the company for billing purposes.  It is also available to the
  PBX in the form of ANI which can the be sent to the automated phone system
  that processes the request.  In the HIV test scenario, the company that is
  called has a record of the calling phone number (ANI), and the requested
  `secret' code.  Since they already have the test results, the company is now
  able to match the phone number, which can be looked up, and the HIV status.
  In effect, the company is capable of covertly developing a database
  containing the names, addresses, phone number, and HIV status of the people
  who purchase and take the test.
  Who would want this database? 
  Government, insurance companies, employers, you name it.  Most health
  related information is considered confidential and will not be released by
  either the government nor the physicians.  If someone had a `secret'
  database that contained the HIV status of millions of people, then the
  interested organisations would have a discreet way of `checking-out'
  potential clients, or employees.