Question of privacy with reassigned resources

Steven Bellovin smb at cs.columbia.edu
Thu Aug 5 03:25:00 CDT 2010


On Aug 4, 2010, at 11:49 42PM, William Herrin wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 3:42 PM, Steven Bellovin <smb at cs.columbia.edu> wrote:
>> On Aug 4, 2010, at 1:35 17AM, William Herrin wrote:
>>> For the latter, you're providing significant amounts of a public
>>> resource (IP addresses) to a business whose contact information you're
>>> contractually and ethically obligated to reveal. If a particular
>>> complex is worried about publishing their location, they can always
>>> rent a P.O. box. If you're the only one doing the worrying, don't.
>> 
>> I strongly disagree -- you're revealing the precise address of any
>> tenant in those buildings.  Don't do that...
> 
> Then discuss it with the apartment complex, Steven, and encourage them
> to get a PO box to use in place of their physical address. Or just buy
> a box from mail boxes etc. yourself and set up mail forwarding each
> time you set up a new apartment complex. The main point of the
> exercise is that the address consumer (the apartment management
> company, a for-profit business) be identifiable and directly reachable
> by phone, email and postal mail, not that they provide accurate
> coordinates for targeting the nukes. Plenty of reasonable ways to meet
> the spirit of the rules. The letter too.
> 
Clearly, the apartment complex owners could do that if they so choose.  I'm not sure who you suggest should "buy a box from mail boxes etc. yourself and set up mail forwarding each time you set up a new apartment complex" -- the ISP?  How does that help?  This is, as you say, a way to contact the apartment complex owners, right? 

The issues have to do with knowledge and expenditure.  For the most part, consumers and apartment complex owners have no knowledge of IP geolocation or SWIP.  It is consumer privacy at risk here, but consumers have no opportunity to opt out of this scheme even if they knew about it.  "Discuss it with the apartment complex" is generally null advice; apart from the fact that consumers have exactly zero leverage in many markets, the apartment managers (a) don't know about it, either, and (b) can't be bothered to get a PO box and collect the (rare) mail from it.

		--Steve Bellovin, http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb









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