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United States

California Gov. Halts Wage Info Sale 21

Uriel writes "CNN reports that Governor Davis of California has responded to the outrage about possible sales of wage information by ordering the Employment Development Department to take no action on the law permitting such. One for our side? "
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California Gov. Halts Wage Info Sale

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  • In an era where the theme seems to be "make a buck any way possible, and screw the little guy", it's refreshing to see a prominent government official take a step away from that philosophy.


    ...phil
  • Posted by kenmcneil:

    For those of you who do not know California's govener is Gray Davis. He was just elected during the 98 elections and was expected to be somewhat ineffective because he is very moderate (i.e. gray). It is good to see him making quick discisions like this. Glad I voted for him.
  • No stunts of this ilk can be pulled off without willing geeks who compromise their principles and lie down with the forcesss offf EEEvilll!
    I believe it may come to a geeks-day-off sort of event to fully inform these bozos that without geek cooperation, NOTHING happens! Planes don't fly, sick folks don't heal, energy stops, ...
    The potential consequences are TRULY HIDEOUS.
    We should understand how much power we possess, and wield it if necessary. I know we're just as idiotic politically as any other group, but at least we have a few ethics between us if we look.
  • Not bad! Maybe this exactly the sort of thing ol' Ayn was thinking of?

  • I would be surprised if the Slashdot effect did not play a small roll in this. With the number of people who visit regularly, we could qualify as a small city's worth of public opinion!
  • The reason it is so much of interest to geeks is because most of the recent threats to privacy are a direct result of high technology, and especially computer databases. The more information about you that can be stored and searched at someone else's leisure, the less privacy we have. Read Lawrence Lessig's "The Architectures of Privacy" for starters. (I forget the URL; I know I saw it on /. in the past few months.)

    And anyway, please keep posting things about privacy.

  • The problem with a geek strike is that geeks tend to rely on consensus . They think , reason , argue ( as opposed to being just generally contrary ) and generally don't wind up agreeing on many things . All that power is divided into many many individuals . Organizing a strike is beyon the capacity of any one person .
    Trust me , Ghandi would have balked .
  • cos its not mandatory. they can ask you only if they want to be polite about it..which in most cases they're not. the asking thing is based on the honor system.
  • The article mentions (fairly far down) that the applicant's written authorization is required. If the (an example) loan applicant has provided written authorization to a bank to look up his/her salary, then how is this a compromise of the loan applicant's privacy?
  • I've worked for a state University for 20 some years. By law, all budget information (including salaries) is public information. The main impacts I've seen from having this sort of normally "private information" available have been an acute interest on the part of employees as to what other employees are making & complaints about that and -- I think -- a general dampening effect on salary increases related to merit. When an employer knows that everyone can/will know what other workers make, there is a tendency to distribute merit money more broadly -- a great CYA.

    OTOH, other than intergroup politics, I haven't seen any particularly negative impacts.
  • Freely available wage information, for example, makes it hard to bluff a prospective new employer out of a raise. (In addition to all the other badness it could cause.)
  • This is a good thing, no doubt. But why did it get this far in the first place? I suspect this will creep back in at a later time when noone is paying attention......besides, we cattle are a commodity, right?

    Moo
  • I agree with this being private information; however, somehow, this is information that is going to be sold one way or another. If you never have ever checked your personal information on one of the databases like TRW or its distributers, I strongly recommend that you try. Four years ago, I found one had a trial account designed for employers to screen employees. It was a dialup and menu based on VT100. There were about 24 categories of information to select from about an applicant. I decided to see what information I could dig about myself and pulled up my credit history. It claimed it was just a demo and the information was not real. What surprised me was it was those numbers and companies matched my history. My driving record turned out correct too! All that was required at that time was a tax identification number and the name of the business.

    I'm sure someone is going to find a way to get it and sell it if its not sold already. I could have just as easily found the goods on anyone else. Its there. Someone has it. After what I saw, I'm sure of it.
  • The reason is this is being retracted is because it is not "good public policy". There's two additional things to think about here. For one, people understand *exactly* what reselling of their personal information means. And for two, people don't like big government. This doesn't equal good public policy. But a related topic.. say, outlawing encryption, is considered "good public policy", because non-techies don't understand why encryption is so important - they don't *see* it being used.

    But you'll notice that the same arguements are used: decrease fraud, and crime. For this, it's to ensure people don't write bad checks. For encryption, it's to stop "drug dealers" from encrypting all their communication. And drawing even more parallels - most people who write "bad checks" will just do so at the smaller stores that can't afford to pay somebody to research out every check they accept. Most drug dealers won't bother with encryption either - all they need is a pager.

    End result of all this: You lose your rights. But we won't call it that - we'll say we're protecting you from the "criminal element". And if you still oppose us.. you're either a criminal, or you're soft on crime.

    To be honest, unless that law gets repealed, they'll just wait a year.. and then more quietly start the program back up.



    --
  • I think lots of people here underestimate that there are politically motivated people who actually have concerns about personal liberties, privacy, and etc. The ones that we, even us "clever" computer enthuisasts, insist on giving all the attention to, are the mainstream politicians whose decisions come right from election polls and corporate pockets. Are these the ones that really deserve our attention?

    What surprises me is that after years of being Pete Wilson's stronghold, California now has a liberal governor who actually seems to give a damn about the people in his state.

    And on the other hand, I think lots of people here overestimate Slashdot. Suddenly every privacy matter is somehow a technology matter? And suddenly we're the only group of people that cares? And suddenly anyone listens to a bunch of computer people, especially when talking about something that really has nothing to do with computers?

    Regards,

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