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IP: You think this database anonymizes entries? [Best use a payphone in an airport or .... djf] (fwd)
- To: email@example.com
- Subject: IP: You think this database anonymizes entries? [Best use a payphone in an airport or .... djf] (fwd)
- From: James Love <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 9 Oct 1996 21:35:29 -0400 (EDT)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 09 Oct 1996 17:46:40 -0400
From: Dave Farber <email@example.com>
To: interesting-people mailing list <firstname.lastname@example.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.