Childrens Identity Theft for KKZZ radio

September 15, 2010

Safe Internet Alliance CEO, Linda Criddle, discusses a growing crime against children on the Internet, Child Identity Theft. Organized crime groups target children to steal their identities for financial gain. Children have, what Linda calls, “virgin credit.” Stealing their Social Security Numbers is ideal because the crime may not be detected for years. Children’s identity can be stolen at any time, but the sweet spot for identity theft is aged 17-25 years old.

Linda offers these tips on protecting your child’s identity against identity theft: 1) Check your child’s credit report annually. You can check your child’s credit report for free once a year at each of the three major credit reporting agencies: ExperianEquifax and TransUnion. 2) Put a freeze on your child’s credit. This process costs approximately $10. You can go to any one agency and freeze credit.

The Safe Internet Alliance is pushing legislators and credit agencies to make one small change that will reduce child identity theft. Requiring the credit issuing companies to take one additional step to look for red flags is all it takes. If credit issuing agencies would check teh date of birth of the person seeking credit and match it against the Social Security Number, that would reduce identity theft. How likely is it that a Social Security Number that has been issued two years ago (indicating a child of two years old) would need a credit card or mortgage? Of course, this would be a guideline. There are legitimate cases where an adult would have a Social Security number that is new, such as immigrants to this country that are issued a Social Security Card or people who had to have their Social Security Card reissued because of Identity Theft.

We also discussed cyberbullying in this interivew.

Listen to this chilling and thought provoking interview below:


Call to Action: Join the Protest Craigslist’s Profiting from Human Trafficking On Thursday, July 8, 2010 at their San Francisco Headquarters

June 24, 2010

The issues of human trafficking via the internet, and holding accountable the companies who profit from it, are dear to my heart. I am therefore forwarding this call to action in its entirety. We cannot remain silent while this scourge is devastating the lives of millions. To learn more, see my blog Child Trafficking and the Internet.

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) in partnership with Prostitution Research and Education (PRE) and other co-sponsors will be holding a protest in front of Craigslist Headquarters in San Francisco to bring attention to Craigslist’s facilitation of and profiting  from sex trafficking. “Craigslist continues to cynically profit by functioning as an online pimp,” says Norma Ramos, Executive Director of CATW. “Craigslist is the new stroll where pimps traffic, johns buy and Craigslist profits,” says Melissa Farley, Executive Director, PRE.

Craigslist is projected to realize a 22% increase in revenue — an estimated $36 million in 2010 — largely attributable to its functioning as a virtual red light district for pimps/traffickers and johns. Craigslist displays a reckless disregard for human rights by increasingly becoming a part of the sex industry. Craigslist could act to create a sex trafficking free internet by no longer hosting prostitution ads and thereby setting an industry standard.

We invite you to join CATW, PRE and other co-sponsors at our protest to hold Craigslist accountable for facilitating and profiting from the rank exploitation of others.

When:   Thursday, July 8, 2010

Where:  Craigslist Headquarters

1381 9th Avenue (Between Judah and Irving Streets)

San Francisco, CA 94122

Time:      12:00 – 2:00PM

Please help get the word out by e-mailing this notice to your contact list.


The Korelin Report

June 23, 2010

The Korelin Report

Linda Criddle, Microsoft veteran and internet security expert, discusses the importance of making sure you can successfullyl identify scams in email, on websites, or when posted as comments on social sites. Click here to download this MP3 audio segment from The Korelin Report

Four Nerds Fight Facebook; Coming Soon, Individual Social Sites?

May 25, 2010

The ‘you can use my network in exchange for our right to own and monetize anything you contribute’  model of exploitation is being challenged, and if you’re smart, you can help push it into extinction.

Facebook’s under siege for their continued erosion of consumer privacy and increasing exploitation of consumer’s information. Privacy advocates, the FTC, Congress, the Canadian government, and the EU have all threatened action – and an increasing number of consumers are adding their disgust to the argument. Is an exodus in the wings? There is certainly precedent; the collapse of MySpace, once thought to be untouchable, shows how quickly a service that falls out of consumer favor can wither. When MySpace became synonymous with child predators and a lack of innovation it’s glory days were marked.

Several legal challenges to Facebook’s exploits are forming, which the company has announced their intent to fight. Yet while this battle moves slowly through the legal process, technology may significantly alter the playing field. In a move that closely parallels Facebook’s own genesis, a group of young college students is leveraging the openness of the internet and applying technical innovation to change the playing field.

It began with four ‘nerds’ creating a vision of change. After hearing a lecture by Eben Moglen, a law professor at Columbia University, describing the current model of  centralized social networks as “spying for free,” these young men were galvanized into creating a model of individual social networks that each user would ‘own’ so you have full control of your information and privacy rather than sacrificing this to Facebook or another big business.

Explaining why centralized networks like Facebook aren’t necessary, Raphael Sofaer, 19, one of the students developing this service said. “In our real lives, we talk to each other,” he said. “We don’t need to hand our messages to a hub. What Facebook gives you as a user isn’t all that hard to do. All the little games, the little walls, the little chat, aren’t really rare things. The technology already exists.”

Figuring it would take 3-4 months to create the software, called Diaspora*, the students concluded they’d need to raise $10k in funds to live on during the development. They set up a page on Kickstarter, a funding platform site that helps people with ideas get the support they need, and estimated it would take 39 days to raise their funds.  Instead, it took 12 days. As of this writing, they’ve raised over 95k. “We were shocked,” said Dan Grippi, 21,  another one of the students involved. “For some strange reason, everyone just agreed with this whole privacy thing.”

That some reason would be consumers outrage over the exploitation. You can go to Diaspora*’s Kickstarter page to add your support.

You can also join the “FacebookProtest” movement by ensuring you log off Facebook, entirely on June 6th.

You care about your privacy, it’s time to make sure your opinions are respected, and that products don’t force you to choose between access or privacy.

More articles on this topic: Four Nerds and a Cry to Arms Against Facebook. More articles online privacy:  Debunking the myth: Young Adults Do Care About Online Privacy, and Think You’ve Got Nothing to Hide? Are You Nuts?


ACLU Fights Facebook

May 14, 2010

The ACLU has sent out a call to action, encouraging consumers to increase the pressure on Facebook, highlighting the escalating tension between those who protect consumer interests and the company. I’m displaying their well crafted email in it’s entirety below. The ACLU has also created a page to help you navigate the recent Facebook changes, see Demand your dotRights for more information.


LOOKBOTHWAYS President Interviewed by MSNBC About Craigslist Murder

May 14, 2010

Herb Weisbaum, MSNBC’s Consumerman,  interviewed Linda Criddle, President of LOOKBOTHWAYS Inc., and president of the Safe Internet Alliance, in the wake of the Craigslist murder robbery about how consumers can better protect themselves when using classified sites.

Criddle highlighted the need to remain anonymous, to protect your home by arranging to meet in a public place with lots of people around, and to never go alone.

“The risk is always there when you have a person-to-person meeting,” Criddle cautions. “And the steps needed to mitigate those risks are always important.”

For small items that are easily transported arrange to meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop, at a time when there are plenty of people around. Bring someone with you – for added security and peace of mind.

Criddle says when a transaction involves a significant amount of money you might want to meet at your bank. And she’s not kidding.

“You want to be in the safest environment,” she says. “Well, this is the safest environment for you and it’s also the safest environment for the buyer. There are security cameras there, people and often a security guard.”

This way, you don’t have to walk around with a lot of cash. You can deposit it as soon as the sale is done.

Read the full article MSNBC article here:

Debunking the myth: Young Adults Do Care About Online Privacy

May 13, 2010

Contrary to popular claim that young people “are less concerned with maintaining privacy than older people are”, a UC Berkley study found “that large percentages of young adults (those 18-24 years) are in harmony with older Americans regarding concerns about online privacy, norms, and policy suggestions. In several cases, there are no statistically significant differences between young adults and older age categories on these topics. Where there were differences, over half of the young adult-respondents answered in the direction of older adults.

While participation in social networks is still high, the findings show that over half the young adults surveyed are more concerned about privacy now than they were five years ago. A finding that mirrors the percentage of people their parent’s age or older with that worry.

For example, the research found that a large majority of young adults:

  • Have refused to give information to a business in cases where they felt it was too personal or not necessary
  • Believe anyone who uploads a photo of them to the internet should get their permission first, even if taken in public
  • Believe there should be a law that gives people the right to know all the information websites know about them
  • Believe there should be a law that requires websites to delete all stored information about an individual
  • Are just as likely as older users to read privacy policies and delete browser cookies, and are nearly as likely to abort a purchase because of privacy concerns with the e-commerce site.

They study also highlights three key reasons young adults are more inclined to over-share information online. 1) young adults are shockingly uninformed about their lack of right-to-privacy 2) youth, and to a lesser extent young adults, are more inclined to take risks, bow to peer pressure, and ignore consequences, and 3) social networks, by their very design encourage increasing the amount of information shared over time.

Answering questions about privacy, the survey found that higher proportions of 18-24 year olds believe incorrectly that the law protects their privacy online and offline more than it actually does, In fact, the lack of understanding about privacy among young adults was abysmal.

A whopping 42% of young Americans answered all five online privacy questions incorrectly, and only 12% answered 3 or more of the questions correctly.

Based on these scores, the researchers concluded that “This lack of knowledge [about privacy] in a tempting environment, rather than a cavalier lack of concern regarding privacy, may be an important reason large numbers of them engage with the digital world in a seemingly unconcerned manner.”

Combining this research’s findings with another piece of research, Peer Influence on Risk Taking, Risk Preference, the study finds that youth’s developmental stage also plays a clear role in their increased willingness to take risks with privacy. Unsurprisingly, the youngest teens (13-16), show the highest likelihood to succumb to peer pressure and risk taking behaviors as the need to be cool online outweighs concerns over long-term consequences. This risk taking drops significantly as youth mature into young adults.

Compounding the risks of over-sharing among youth is the very design and dynamic of social networks that actively encourage users to share increasing the amount of information shared over time.

The study’s conclusion speaks volumes:

“In policy circles, it has become almost a cliché to claim that young people do not care about privacy. Certainly there are many troubling anecdotes surrounding young individuals’ use of the internet, and of social networking sites in particular.

Nevertheless, we found that in large proportions young adults do care about privacy… We suggest, then, that young-adult Americans have an aspiration for increased privacy even while they participate in an online reality that is optimized to increase their revelation of personal data.”

Policy discussions should acknowledge that the current business environment along with other factors sometimes encourages young adults to release personal data in order to enjoy social inclusion even while in their most rational moments they may espouse more conservative norms.

Education alone is probably not enough for young adults to reach aspirational levels of privacy. They likely need multiple forms of help from various quarters of society, including perhaps the regulatory arena, to cope with the complex online currents that aim to contradict their best privacy instincts.

Here is the link to the full research report: How Different are Young Adults from Older Adults When it Comes to Information Privacy Attitudes and Policies?

Youth do care, and businesses had better take notice.