Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Kerry Packer Is Planning To Watch You!

A huge computer database containing the personal and financial details of almost every Australian is being constructed for Kerry Packer's PBL company and will be operational by Christmas. John Howard reports.

The "warehouse" database will contain information from a diverse range of sources, including credit companies, retailers, electoral rolls, post office lists, car sales records and housing purchase records.

It will also be fed information from a range of other PBL sources including Channel Nine, ninemsn, Crown Casino and Ticketek.

The power of the warehouse database, being constructed by the US company Acxiom, comes from its ability to cross-reference information from many different sources.

Detailed personal records therefore can be built up on anyone in the country.

Its existence has prompted expressions of concern from the Australian Consumers Association. (ACA)

ACA senior policy officer Charles Britton said it was "very scary" to think so much information would be stored in a single place.

"Most people would be unaware that all this data about them is being held by a single private company," he said.

Access to the warehouse, called InfoBase, will be offered to companies seeking to focus their activities to learn more about their customers.

Acxiom Australia chief executive Andrew Robb said the massive database was being populated now. "A bank could have very rich data but it has a narrow focus. If you can combine it with, say, lifestyle data, it becomes much more valuable," he said.

Running on a series of Compaq Alpha servers, the database warehouse uses Oracle software. Initially containing more than 15 million records, the database will constantly grow in size and complexity.

In the US, Acxiom has established what it claims is the world's largest database, which holds personal details on 95 percent of all US households or some 330 million people.

Acxiom international division head Jerry Ellis said the company's clients could access this vast information reserve and pull out records in seconds.

"This is very powerful stuff," Mr Ellis said.

A clients computer can recognise an incoming telephone number, query InfoBase, and provide a full profile on the customer before the call is answered.

They will know a caller's income, credit rating, number of children and how many cars they own before they answer an incoming call.

Although relatively unknown in Australia or New Zealand, Acxiom is a US$2.5 billion company with more than 450 corporate clients, including IBM, American Express, Wal-Mart and AT&T.

Meanwhile, the Federal Parliament has passed laws that allows the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to tap into and alter data on private computer systems.

The ASIO Amendment Bill 1999 has passed the Senate giving federal authorities the power to tap into private computer systems for surveillance purposes. This is the first time in 13 years a major change has been made to the ASIO Act 1979.

The Australian Labour Party has expressed concern that the law allows ASIO to add, delete, or alter data, on remote computers. The Democrats have said the law could be intentionally misused to plant evidence. Privacy Groups are furious.

I know, I know - if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to be afraid of, I hear you say.

Well, do you have curtains at home? Of course you do. Then why do you close them at night, you've got nothing to hide - have you? For privacy, you exclaim - exactly!

If you like living in a rabbit hutch environment you probably won't mind all this - but don't ever close those curtains at night, will you.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news