Monday, June 20, 2005

Article: ChoicePoint and "Garbage In, Garbage Out"

Baseline magazine's Web site offers a full-length feature article, "ChoicePoint: Blur," which investigates inaccuracies in sensitive personal information distributed by data brokers, in this case ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia. ChoicePoint sold personal information—such as addresses, Social Security and driver's license numbers, and birth dates and locations—of about 145,000 individuals to Nigerian criminals posing as legitimate businesses. [Update 1/26/2006] The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has levied a US$10 million fine on ChoicePoint for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FTC also expects ChoicePoint to establish a US$5 million "trust fund for individuals who might have become victims of identity theft as a result of the breach." The focus of the Baseline article however, isn't identity theft. Instead, the authors concentrate on the erroneous data that ChoicePoint supplies to its customers—legitimate or otherwise—and the company's failure to even attempt to verify the accuracy of third-party personal data it acquires and publishes. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has been pursuing details of government use of CheckPoint data since filing a Freedom of Information Act request in 2001. EPIC wants the FTC to regulate all CheckPoint data that contains sensitive personal information under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which gives consumers the right to view their records and correct erroneous information. Bruce Schneier weighs in with an observation that persons whose personal information was improperly disclosed by ChoicePoint to identity thieves would not have occurred were it not for California's S.B. 1386. S.B. 1386, the California Information Practices Act, requires data brokers and other organizations to report improper disclosure of unencrypted personal data on California residents. --rj P.S. eWeek magazine's "Garbage In, Garbage Out of Control" article by Linda Voss raises the issue of users drawing incorrect conclusions from bad data, erroneous correlations, improper analytics, flawed visualizations, or all four. If the users are local law-enforcement personnel, as was the case for two examples that the Baseline article describes, the military, or federal anti-terrorist agencies, incorrect conclusions drawn from database applications can have serious consequences.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Tech*Ed 2005 Show Daily Articles from FTPOnline

If you subscribe to Fawcette Technical Publications' .NETInsight newsletter, you've received three "Show Daily" newsletters that contain links to news from and analyses of Tech*Ed 2005 keynote speeches and breakout sessions. If not, following are links to articles from the three "Show Daily" newsletters, and here's a link to the Preferences page where you can sign up to receive any or all of the FTP newsletters. Day One - Monday Visual Studio 2005 to Launch November 7 Microsoft VP Paul Flessner said today at Tech*Ed that Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006 will launch internationally in a series of events the week of November 7. .NET 2.0 Gets Faster The .NET 2.0 beta outperforms .NET 1.1 by 20 to 40 percent, said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during his opening keynote at this week's Tech*Ed conference. Longhorn Redux The next version of Windows will differ dramatically from its PDC 2003 preview version. Roger Jennings gauges the impact that Longhorn and its back-ported Avalon and Indigo components will have on VS developers. Ballmer: "Look out, Rational." Microsoft CEO declares that Visual Studio 2005 is nearly ready and that its Team System will challenge IBM/Rational head on, says Jim Fawcette in his blog. Where Microsoft Stands With Security Microsoft shows its commitment to security with recent releases such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 with its Security Configuration Wizard. Ballmer Touts .NET Adoption, Office Dev Tools In his Tech*Ed keynote, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer quoted the obligatory .NET momentum statistics, but left some questions unanswered, says Jeff Hadfield. Day Two - Tuesday Revisiting Whidbey, Yukon, and Beyond This week's Tech*Ed is in many ways a major milestone for Microsoft's product strategy, especially for its server and tools products. Peter O'Kelly provides an overview and analysis of the latest developments. SQL Server June 2005 CTP Now Available The newest SQL Server 2005 preview version, the June Community Technical Preview, is now available for download. This CTP is the first preview version to be publicly available. Put the 'Smart' in Smart Client Building applications for multiple platforms requires more consideration from developers than ever before. Find out how to make your apps "smarter." Is C# the Only Language that Matters? One promise of .NET has always been that the language you use is up to you. It's a nice theory, says Patrick Meader, but the perception in many circles is that C# is the only language that matters. Ballmer: .NET Outperforms WebSphere, Again .NET 2.0 ups the stakes as Ballmer claims 200 percent better performance than WebSphere, says Jim Fawcette in a blog post. Infrastructure Takes Center Stage Building a solid IT infrastructure is essential to maintaining communications in your organization. Here's a sampling of key products that vendors are showing off at Tech*Ed 2005. Day Three - Wednesday Yukon Tempts Database Developers Long-awaited SQL Server 2005 offers Visual Studio 2005 developers more than just CLR integration. ADO.NET 2.0 opens the door to native data encryption, a new XML data type, and many added T-SQL features. CLR in SQL Server Actually Has a Benefit! During his Tech*Ed keynote, Microsoft VP Paul Flessner briefly mentioned a benefit of having CLR support built into SQL Server 2005, says Jim Fawcette. Connect Systems With Indigo Tech*Ed's Connected Systems track presentations propose the forthcoming Indigo messaging bus as the service-oriented successor to ASMX Web services, Web Services Enhancements (WSE), .NET Remoting, MSMQ, COM+, and, lest we forget, Global XML Architecture (GXA). New Dev Tools Integrate With VS 2005 Vendors at Tech*Ed showcase new development tools, including products that help you build database apps, enhance your app's presentation layer, design Web apps more easily, and more. Admin Benefits of SQL Server 2005 Any database or system administrator will be glad to move on from SQL Server 2000, say Danielle Ruest and Nelson Ruest. Get the scoop on some of the improvements in SQL Server 2005. --rj