What databases are you listed on? Do you know what they say about you? This article from the Washington Post describes how retailers are using databases to deny merchandise returns to customers who are abusing the system. But, as usual, mistakes can be made. I like this quote:
"Technology has made it cheap to do all kinds of surveillance and watch over people and make sure they obey the rules. But when a system makes a mistake, what can you do?" said Richard Smith, an Internet security and privacy consultant.
As consumers, we have the right to see our credit records. And Express, the store mentioned in this article, says consumers have the right to see their exchange records (but they don't seem to advertise the fact). But, as with the TSA records, most databases are black boxes which cannot be entered by the average person.
My question is why, by default, do these databases all have to be so secret? Why not make them openly available, and give people the ability to add commentary to it? Via a wiki, for example. Sure, there are a variety of technical/privacy details to be worked out, but it seems to me that transparency would be a better option here.
"When you remove the barriers to changing things, you also remove the barriers to fixing what's broken." Dan Gillmor on wikis, We the Media, p. 150
[Link via Jeremy.]