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Thread: Privacy Advocates Need Not Read

  1. #1
    All the Certs! 11001001's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Just West of Beantown, though nobody from Beantown actually calls it "Beantown."

    Privacy Advocates Need Not Read

    From Wired News today (4/29/04)

    An America Online customer service rep illicitly surfs the company's customer database, ferrets out private data on celebrity members and then hunts them down online under a false identity, seeking fame and fortune in Hollywood.
    The former AOL employee managed to parlay privacy violations into useful contacts in Hollywood. With the help of those contacts, Robinson, 25, landed a movie deal, and she's using her toehold in the industry to advance another.
    A "Corrective Action Business Conduct" letter addressed to Robinson three months after she was hired placed her on a 90-day probation after a customer complained about repeated misuse of confidential account information.
    [An AOL Spokesman] declined to state whether the company will pursue legal action against Robinson, but said AOL's legal department is currently reviewing the matter.

    So much for trust...
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2001

    It makes one wonder exactly why she had such free range of their customer databases to begin with?

    Honestly, how difficult would it be to limit access to a customer's file?

    I know many companies use a system where a client's database entries are only unlocked to customer service reps when the system recognizes an incoming phonecall to the customer service number from that same client.

    IE, call into a company from my phone at 555-5555, the system recognizes this phone number, and unlocks my account for a period of time to the customer service rep that the call is directed to. If the number is not recognized by the sytem, or is blocked for some reason, I'm prompted to enter the last 4 digits of my social, or security code, and my account is similarly unlocked.

    There are dozens and dozens of similar systems that can be used, and are used every day. It's kind of shocking that AOL is not using any of them.

    I can only imagine the type of unique business ventures that we'll start seeing from countries like India. It'll make 411 scams look like child's play.

  3. #3
    HeadShot Master N1nja Cybr1d's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Boston, MA
    Hmm...I recently spoke with some customers from Germany, and they informed me that they have AOL over there..."America OnLine" in Germany???Doesn't sound right . Imagine America Online in Iraq (The controversy and the irony).

    But really, today you'll EXTREMELY surprised, and/or shocked to see how freely your most personal/private information is handled in businesses. You can go get a cell phone, and the person over the counter will need all yoru personal information in order to activate the phone (Thats for most of them, although there is exeptions). That person could very easily make a copy of that information and misuse it. I'm still dealing with my concience to or not to bring this financial firm to court for misshandling customer credit reports and throwing thousands of Equifax credit reports in a Recycling Bin, unlocked and unprotected. Take them to court or Blackmail them....I could surely use some money to pay off my loans and College tuition.

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