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    Computer Privacy - CASE STUDY

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    Computer Privacy - CASE STUDY

    Post by Admin on Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:32 pm

    Computer Privacy

    An interesting post on a computer discussion site (Slashdot) raises some important questions about software installed by cable personnel. Here’s the entry in its entirely Posted by Cliff on Monday October 28, @08:33AM from the fishy-practices dept. {e}N0S asks: "The cable guy came over to install a cable modem at my Dad's house. As I watched him do his stuff I noticed he was installing something called Broadjump Client Foundation. I know you don't need software for a cable modem to work so I asked if it was necessary. He said he had to do his list of things, and we had to sign that he did his list of things, otherwise he couldn't leave it with us to use. Since I can always remove the software, I agreed, but I noticed while he was flipping through the install, he was clicking 'agree' on every EULA that came up. Doing a search on Google for 'Broadjump Client Foundation' comes up with some pretty scary stuff as far as what it does, like: 'Builds a database of subscriber demographics and buying behaviors to help evolve and refine marketing efforts.' Now, how does this affect us? Neither myself or anyone in my family agreed to the software; the cable guy did. And is there anyway to get cable companies to stop doing this as I can imagine since the cable company is a monopoly in this town, that the percentage of people who still have this software on their computers is pretty high." The author raises some important issues here. One of them is the general issue of the extent to which internet providers can report on the web activities of their subscribers. Another, related issue is the way in which permissions are handled (or not handled) in this case, and obviously the way in which it affects the first issue. A related issue occurs when users unknowingly download software that then monitors their web browser activity. Think about this issue on two levels. First, what do you think is right or wrong (permissible or impermissible) in this scenario? Was it wrong, for example, for the computer technician to click off on the EULA’s? Second, to what extent should these things be regulated? That is, should there be legislation or government regulation overseeing the monitoring behavior of internet providers? If so, what provisions should it contain?

    Notes:

    The original entry and subsequent discussion can be found at: http://ask.slashdot.org/askslashdot/02/10/26/2311244.shtml?tid=172 This is reprinted with the kind permission of the author.

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