[ISN] UK: Privacy Fears over Dial-Up CD-ROM

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Tue Jun 02 1998 - 20:01:16 PDT

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    Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <ncb05at_private>
    By Peter Warren.
    A CONTROVERSIAL computerised directory capable of revealing the home phone
    numbers and addresses of people throughout Europe has been branded a
    sex-molesters' charter by angry civil rights groups.
    The database, held on five CD-Roms and due for release by directory
    publishers ICD this summer, allows the home addresses and phone numbers of
    most European citizens to be virtually instantly recovered by any computer.
    More importantly, the system can hunt down individuals from tiny pieces of
    information as the technology allows a computer to produce address details
    >from just a phone number or a post code.
    And despite ICD's claim that it is intended to help people get in touch
    with each other and reunite missing friends it has been swiftly condemned
    by both data protection and privacy campaigners.
    "Some people have the right to be missing," said Simon Davies, director of
    Privacy International. "What the people making money out of producing this
    information seem to be intent on missing themselves, is that often,
    individuals go missing for good reasons. It is not for normal reasons that
    people lose contact with their families for example. Every year thousands
    of people are hunted down by infatuated and aggrieved lovers or family
    members who they are trying to avoid. This product will be a tool for those
    people and a tool for rape and murder."
    Davies is not alone in his anxiety about the database. ICD, which produces
    UK disks based on information culled from publicly available databases such
    as the Electoral Roll and phone directory information, has also drawn
    criticism from the Data Protection Registrar.
    "The problem with this database is that because it is on disk it is outside
    our control," said Phil Jones, an assistant data protection registrar. 
    SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY 31/05/98 P6 
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