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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Web Stalkers
Chapter 1 -
The Illusion of Anonymity

Dealing with confidential data on the web

One does not need to look far to see public cases of computer security violations and the liability suffered by the custodian of the data.  With millions of dollars at stake, there are many resourceful hackers waiting for a website custodian to make a mistake and expose confidential information. 

The following sections explore specific ways that companies lose control of information.

Real-world Case: The Hotel Database Fiasco

In a widely publicized court case from the 1990’s, a major hotel chain collected detailed information about their weekday guests’ use of their hotels.  They employed a data warehouse analyst who created a target marketing campaign, offering special coupons to those guests who frequently used the hotel on weekdays. 

This marketing campaign was a mass-mailing that targeted weekday-stay guests with coupons sent to the home addresses of the guests.  The results were disastrous.  More than a dozen people were clued into their spouse’s infidelity as a direct result of this coupon campaign and more than six divorces resulted from the company’s actions.

While this action was not in violation of the privacy laws per se, the result of the campaign was the disclosure of private information that was damaging to a third party.  A more suitable approach in this case would have been to mail the coupons to the guests’ work addresses.

Next, ways the web can be used to violate personal privacy will be explored.

The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert


Note:  This is a literature review prepared by a non-lawyer and this research may not be construed as legal advice.  If you are seeking legal advice of qualified attorneys, consult your local Bar Association, not these web pages.

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