David Kirkpatrick

May 25, 2010

Even more on social media and privacy

And this one isn’t just limited to Facebook.

Social networking sites may be sharing a lot more of your identifying data with their advertisers than you realize.

From the link:

A report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that a number of social networking sites (including Facebook, MySpace, and Digg) may be sharing users’ personal information with advertisers. Since the Journal started looking into this possible breach of privacy, both Facebook and MySpace have moved to make changes.

The practice is actually a somewhat defensible one–and most of the companies involved did try to defend it–in which the advertisers receive information on the last page viewed before the user clicked on their ad. This is common practice all over the web, and, in most cases, is no issue–advertisers receive information on the last page viewed, which cannot be traced back to the user. In the case of social networking sites, the information on the last page viewed often reveals user names or profile ID numbers that could potentially be used to look up the individuals.

Depending on what those individuals have made public, advertisers can then see anything from hometowns to real names.

The Journal interviewed some of the advertisers who received the data (including Google’s (GOOG) DoubleClick and Yahoo’s (YHOO) Right Media), who said they were unaware of the data and had not used it.

For some reason I find that last claim from DoubleClick and Right Media a bit hard to believe.

November 14, 2009

This “overview” of Palin’s book …

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:09 pm

… really reads like someone — namely Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg — was working hard to meet a word count.

From the link:

In “Going Rogue: An American Life,” Sarah Palin has written six chapters that detail her life’s experiences, from her earliest days in Alaska to last year’s GOP presidential campaign to her eventual decision to resign as the state’s governor.

Palin dedicates the 413-page memoir, which The Wall Street Journal purchased from a bookstore on Friday, to “all Patriots who share my love of the United States of America. And particularly to our women and men in uniform, past and present–God bless the fight for freedom.”

In other news from the crazy world of Sarah Palin, she apparently wanted to sue Andrew Sullivan for libel for his Daily Dish blogging. Too bad she didn’t follow through. As Sullivan blogged yesterday, discovery alone would have been worth the price of that ticket.

October 22, 2009

Wanted: sexy legal secretaries in Chicago

This is almost beyond belief, but the lawyer in question here — Samir Chowhan — has owned up to posting the original ad and follow-up email. I see a dim future for this particular esquire.

To paraphrase from “This is Spinal Tap,” it’s not “sexy,” it’s “sexist.”

From the WSJ Law Blog link:

The Legal Profession Blog reported on Wednesday about a strange disciplinary complaint filed against an Illinois attorney over an ad the lawyer reportedly posted on Craigslist. The attorney at issue, according to the complaint, Samir Chowhan, worked as a solo practitioner in an office with a handful of other solo practitioners.

The post, listed in the “Adult Gigs” section of the site, was entitled: “Loop lawyers hiring secretary/legal assistant.” It read as follows:

Loop law firm looking to hire am [sic] energetic woman for their open secretary/legal assistant position. Duties will include general secretarial work, some paralegal work and additional duties for two lawyers in the firm. No experience required, training will be provided. Generous annual salary and benefits will be provided, including medical, dental, life, disability, 401(k) etc. If interested, please send current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements. We look forward to meeting you.

According to the Illinois disciplinary complaint, an applicant shortly thereafter responded to the ad. The next day, the attorney reportedly responded with this email:

As this is posted in the “adult gigs” section, in addition to the legal work, you would be required to have sexual interaction with me and my partner, sometimes together sometimes separate. This part of the job would require sexy dressing and flirtatious interaction with me and my partner, as well as sexual interaction. You will have to be comfortable doing this with us.

If you think you’re comfortable so far, please let me know and we can proceed with the process.

The next step is to set up an interview. When are you available to interview? I am free to interview today. Please let me know what your availability is.

Lastly, we’ve actually hired a couple of girls in the past for this position. But they have not been able to handle the sexual aspect of the job later. We have to be sure you’re comfortable with that aspect, because I don’t want you to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. So since that time, we’ve decided that as part of the interview process you’ll be required to perform for us sexually (i didn’t do this before with the other girls i hired, now i think i have to because they couldn’t handle it). Because that aspect is an integral part of the job, I think it’s necessary to see if you can do that, because it’ll predict future behavior of you being able to handle it when you have the job.

If you’re still okay with everything, let me know what you’re availability is and we can figure out a time for you to come in and interview. Let me know. Thanks for your interest.

According to the complaint, the applicant complained to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which then opened an investigation.

September 10, 2009

The recession (that may or may not be over) and Main Street

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:56 pm

Here’s a report of the reality on the ground:

The recession has slashed families’ earnings, increased poverty and left more people without health insurance, according to the Census Bureau’s annual snapshot of living standards, offering sharp evidence of how much the falling economy has touched Americans of every income and race.

The report released Thursday showed median household income, adjusted for inflation, fell 3.6% last year to $50,303, the steepest year-over-year drop since at least 1967. The poverty rate, at 13.2%, was the highest since 1997, while about 700,000 more people were living without health insurance in 2008 than the year before, although the share of the population living without health insurance was about the same.

“There’s a lot of pain for the average family,” said Bruce Meyer, an economist at the University of Chicago. “It’s pretty striking how fast and how far the incomes of the typical family have fallen. The decline is bigger than anything we’ve seen in the past, and things are almost certainly going to get worse.”

August 22, 2008

IRS sending new warning letter

Filed under: Business, et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:22 pm

More evidence the “kinder and gentler” Internal Revenue Service of the last several years is long gone. This warning letter sounds a bit more ominous than the missive it’s replacing. The lack of detail ought to make the recipient pore over their entire questioned return.

From the link:

The new warning letter, the CP2057, will differ from the CP2000 letter that the IRS has been sending out for years, according to The Wall Street Journal. The earlier type of letter included suggestions for proposed changes to areas such as income, credits and deductions, while the CP2057 will mainly ask taxpayers to double-check parts of the return and file an amended return if they have made a mistake. Unlike the CP2000, it will not include the exact amount owed.

The IRS will begin testing the new automated notices later this year and expand their use if they succeed in collecting extra revenue.

“The Automated Soft Notice (CP2057) is a test involving approximately 31,000 notices mailed this fall,” said IRS spokesman Bruce Friedland in an e-mail. “If the test results indicate limited underreporting in the subsequent year and self-correction of unreported income, we hope to expand the use of this notice. A very small portion of our staff is assisting in this test – again, it is designed as an automated notice. The CP2057 asks the taxpayer to file an amended return, or work with the document issuer to correct erroneous documents.”

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