Privacy, Homosexuality and Capitalism


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  1. mpw

    mpw Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thought this'd be a good topic of discussion, as it manages to involves such a range of controversial subjects :)

    A website aimed at homosexual users has gone bankrupt; one of the few assets the business owns is a database of it's users details. This database looks set to be put up for sale.

    If you were a user of this site, what you feel about this? What if a well funded right-wing/religious(yay another topic covered:))/homophobic individual or group were to buy the database?

    I'd be interested to here what people think of this, especially from users of a website like this that holds YOUR details on it's database, and could provide them to anybody, with little you could practically do about it.

    I was a member of a similar site, and had my details shared by a volunteer mod to another website (and who knows what else they did with my and other's details?!)
     

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  2. andrewjdunbar

    andrewjdunbar Member

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    One thing this shows is the genuine need for some sort of privacy protection. Perhaps something in the T & C of forum access thats states what happens to your personal data.

    The real fact of the matter that while there shouldn't be a stigma attached to any sexuality, its still a huge concern for many people. This kind of data sale can, and probably will have a negative impact on peoples live - the question of "how much is your data worth" shouldn't come into it, and perhaps the administrators of the above webiste should make a moral decision, regardless of financial merit.
     
  3. mpw

    mpw Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Did anybody read the T&Cs when they signed up? I don't recall any privacy statement about my details on this site, I remember giving up any rights to the content I create to the owners of the site, and the content of any private messages; and all the site offered was to TRY and prevent offensive material being on the site.

    If you use the 'Terms of Use' link on the site now it takes you nowhere of note. And other than through this site I don't recall any contact information for the site; for all I know it's based in some country that has no data protection laws whatsoever!

    It would seem the owners are at total liberty to sell my details, and private messages to the highest bidder should they so wish.

    It'd be nice to think so wouldn't it, but I'm not sure the law doesn't oblige them to act in the interests of the owners creditors.
     
  4. Tangent

    Tangent Well-Known Member

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    I'd hope the new owners would be required to respect the privacy policy that users had signed up under...

    Something similar that really bugs me: High court's ruling could make ballot petitions public Some groups are trying to make petitions publicly viewable. If they succeed, expect to get harassing calls, letters, or worse depending on the issue from people opposing that view.

    Because stuff like this is in the best interest of freedom and democracy...

     
  5. byteware

    byteware Well-Known Member

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    Actually, as much as I don't really like it, being open about this kind of stuff IS in the best interest of Democracy.

    Governments hiding any kind of (non-military/espionage related) information isn't in the best interest for a Democracy.
     
  6. Tangent

    Tangent Well-Known Member

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    This is your information that's being kept secret though. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to not have every religious fundamentalist group in the state get access to my name and address on a petition to legalize gay marriage for example... I can't think of any reason to make this public other than voter intimidation.
     
  7. mpw

    mpw Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    If you sign a petition you're adding your voice to the request the petition is making, don't want to be heard? don't sign.

    I think petitions should be held to public account, I know plenty of petitions I've been asked to sign weren't worth the paper they were written on, the page I was asked to sign included the name of Micky Mouse for example.

    Make the petitioners publicly accountable may lead to intimidation, but there should be laws against that, and just because those laws aren't being enforced adequately is no reason not to do the right thing elsewhere.

    If the list of petitioners were to be made available I bet there would be an awful lot of worthless petitions recognised as such.
     
  8. byteware

    byteware Well-Known Member

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    Every other piece of information the government has on you (except social security numbers) are a matter of public record.


    That's not the way this works. All information is available to the public, UNLESS, you can find a compelling argument that it SHOULDN'T be available (i.e. military secrets, covert ops names, ssn's).

    And if you want a good reason to make it available, so that the public will know that:

    A) The petition is real.

    B) The people are real who signed the petition.

    C) Petition fraud. (They release the list, and YOU signed the petition, even though you never saw the petition or even heard about it).
     
  9. Tangent

    Tangent Well-Known Member

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    The entire reason a secret ballot is pretty much a given in any modern democracy is so people can express their honest opinions without duress. If we eliminate the "secret" part of the equation I think we're going to be looking at a big shift in how elections play out, and not in a good way. Peer pressure should not be a factor in how people vote or lend support of petitions.

    Determining that all signatures are legitimate is the job of the registrar of voters. They already invalidate all petitions that have signatures like "Mickey Mouse" on them. As a matter of fact, if you've ever signed a petition with a "Mickey Mouse" on it congratulations, your signature was not counted. Every sheet with its dozen or so signatures on it needs to be 100% legitimate registered voters that are signing the form for the right district. One mistake and the entire sheet of signatures is invalidated. This is why people circulating petitions usually try to get a bare minimum of 10% more signatures than they need.

    So far the only "right thing" mentioned has been verifying that there's aren't bogus signatures though... Like I said, that's already taken care of...

    If the list of petitioners were to be made available I bet there would be an awful lot of worthless petitions recognised as such.[/QUOTE]

    How are you defining "worthless petitions"? If you mean ones that have bogus signatures, that's already taken care of as I mentioned above. If you mean that the subject is not worthy, well, that's what the entire petition process is about: If it's not worthy there won't be enough signatures for it to make it onto a ballot.

    Not true. I actually work for a local government office that handles official records. Yes, most information is publicly searchable, but more than just your SSN is considered confidential and copies are only available to the people listed on the documents themselves. If you request it, even your marriage license can be confidential.
     
  10. mpw

    mpw Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    All your arguments seem very specific to how things are done in your part of the world; I'm guessing the USA?

    A petition and a ballot are very different things in the UK. If you're saying that every signature on every petition in the USA is confirmed against a register then that's quite different to the state of affairs here (UK); and that is what I mean by worthless; unverified, is worthless.

    However, I still don't see any reason to make a petition secret; if you don't want to support an issue openly, then maybe you shouldn't support it; or maybe the petition just needs to be better worded to be less controversial.
     
  11. Tangent

    Tangent Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, US... Your petitions aren't verified in any way? Yikes, that really is just begging for abuse isn't it?

    Some issues just can't be worded in a less controversial way. I'm in California and just last year there was a proposition (which started as a petition of course) to make gay marriages illegal. I have little doubt there will be one coming up soon to make it legal, then there will be one making it illegal, rinse, repeat, etc...

    Like I mentioned in my first post, issues like that are already getting people death threats, vandalism, and fired. What if I believe that gay marriage should be allowed but my employer is a homophobe? (He's not as far as I know, this is just a "what-if") In this economy I can't afford to lose my job, but voting my conscience could very well get me fired if he could see how I voted.
     
  12. byteware

    byteware Well-Known Member

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    This isn't a secret ballot. This isn't a ballot at all. Anyone who is asked to sign a ballot initiative has already seen all the names that are on that page.





    And we all know that government employees never make mistakes. We all know that they never let anything slide because of their own political opinions.

    What if the ballot initiative to make gay marriage legal were disallowed because the signatures were improper. Would you want to look at the signatures to verify that? Or would you just trust the government? What if it was released that the person verifying the signatures protested against the ballot initiative?

    "The government verifies it" isn't good enough.

    Ok, the statement wasn't meant to state that only SSN's aren't public, but documents with that kind of sensitivity.

    You may trust government employees, but would you trust them if it were determined that every person that verified the signatures was for the initiative? Or if every person who was verifying the signatures was against the initiative? Say, you want Gay marriage to be legal, and it doesn't make it, and it is determined that the whole office that verified the signatures (and found them lacking) went out the weekend before to protest the initiative? Of course you wouldn't, and there is a valid reason to keep government in check (which is why everything that can be public SHOULD be public).
     
  13. byteware

    byteware Well-Known Member

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    What if the people verifying the signatures are homophobes... and they determine that there weren't enough valid signatures for the petition to be successful?

    What if this kept happening time and time again? Wouldn't you want to be able to verify that was true? Or would you prefer to just trust the nameless bureaucracy?
     
  14. Tangent

    Tangent Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and how many cashiers have seen your credit card number? Would you want that information public. I think the amount of exposure makes a huge difference.

    A couple of problems there: 1) It makes the usual implication that "the government" is somehow staffed by pod people or Borg who all follow a single purpose. 2) It leads us down a road to nowhere. If they did make those signatures public, how long would it take before people argue that those signatures were manufactured by the government? What would you do? Take down every name and address, go door to door, and interrogate everybody until you're satisfied that they actually signed the petition not under duress and they're not government plants?


    I dare you to get an office of about a hundred people to all agree on something as mundane as where to go for lunch. Once you've tried that, think about what it would take to get them to all agree on some other topic strongly enough that they're all willing to risk losing their jobs and going to jail.

    Some of the offices I work at perform marriages. A couple of years ago for a brief while gay marriages were allowed (before the next proposition banned it again). Most people didn't care. Some were thrilled. Some asked to be excused from having to perform those ceremonies based on religious reasons.
     
  15. byteware

    byteware Well-Known Member

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    You don't give the cashier the right to show your Credit Card number to everyone she wants to.

    What if some were? Would you ever know?

    What if your name and signature was on a petition that you didn't sign and didn't agree with?



    Yes, because we've never seen an office full of government workers break the law together. It happens. Like it or not.

    You may trust them. I don't. Even if I know them, I don't trust them.
     

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