Apple slammed over iPhone, iPad location tracking
So much of your personal data is swirling around the world that you cannot fully protect yourself. But here are some steps you can take to lower your risk:
1. Get out of marketing data bases. They all allow you to opt out, if you can find them. For example, you can block your name from being used by any of Epsilon’s clients, including catalog marketers and retailers. One big problem: The database company might retain your name and just block it from being used. If a thief hacks in, he gets the blocked names, too.
2. Opt out, or unsubscribe, from every commercial email list you’re on. “They’re required to give you that option,” says Greg Aaron, director of domain security for Afilias, an Internet infrastructure company. If you opt out at the source, your name should be removed from the large, pooled data bases.
3. Stop most direct mail. The Direct Mail Association provides a website, letting you opt out of various types of promotional mail from its members: credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers, requests for donations, and others. That should stop mail from national companies you haven’t done business with before. Your opt-out lasts for five years. After than you have to sign up again.
The DMA opt-out won’t stop mail from non-members, such as local businesses, charities, or mail from a company where you’ve shopped. You will have to contact those mailers directly and in writing (phone calls don’t work). Be sure to tell them you don’t want your name shared with other companies, such as Epsilon, for marketing purposes.
4. Stop your bank from sharing your name. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can tell your bank not to give your name to any of its affiliates for marketing purposes, as well as to outside marketing firms. You have to give notice in writing, citing your rights under FCRA. Ask for a written acknowledgment that you’ve been taken off the list. These opt-outs, too, might last for just five years.
5. Stop sharing personal information on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or MySpace pages with the general public. Or, share only what you wouldn’t mind seeing in a database, and leave off banking identifiers such as your mother’s name. Social networks can be mined, using your email address.
6. Stop phone calls from telemarketers, by signing up with the National Do Not Call registry. When the registry began, you could stop these calls for only a limited number of years. Since 2008, however, you’ve been able to block them permanently.
7. Opt out of credit card offers. You can stop receiving them by signing up with the OptOutPreScreen, run by the consumer credit reporting industry.
8. Don’t be fooled. Never open an email telling you that you’ve won something, or that you have an unclaimed package, or that there’s a problem with your tax return or bank account. Just by opening it, you might introduce malware into your machine, which searches for passwords to financial accounts. If your bank or credit card company apparently sends you an email, asking you to make corrections in your account, delete. It’s a cheat. Or call the institution to see if it’s legit, before entering any information. With the Epsilon break-in, you might get phony phishing messages from familiar retailers, too. For more tips, check the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and APWG, an industry organization that fights online fraud.
After taking all these actions, are you safe from international financial thieves? Unfortunately, no. Anyone with banking, retail, email, college, or credit relationships will have their data stored somewhere, and the institution might not have spent enough money to keep it safe. Someday the database industry will be slapped with a massive lawsuit, and then maybe they’ll start taking encryption and other advanced security measures more seriously.
Misuse of antibiotics has led to a global health threat: the rise of dangerous???or even fatal???superbugs. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is now attacking both patients in hospitals and also in the community and a deadly new multi-drug resistant bacteria called carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, orCRKP is now in the headlines. Last year, antibiotic resistant infections killed 25,000 people in Europe, the Guardian reports.
Unless steps are taken to address this crisis, the cures doctors have counted on to battle bacteria will soon be useless. CRKP has now been reported in 36 US states???and health officials suspect that it may also be triggering infections in the other 14 states where reporting isn???t required. High rates have been found in long-term care facilities in Los Angeles County, where the superbug was previously believed to be rare, according to a study presented earlier this month. CRKP is even scarier than MRSA because the new superbug is resistant to almost all antibiotics, while a few types of antibiotics still work on MRSA.