[Politech logo]

Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of culture, technology, politics, and law. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site.

eBay bends over backwards to hand users' personal info to police

[I hope this article is inaccurate and eBay will respond to set the record 
straight. Perhaps Tod, who's their senior policy counsel here in 
Washington, can tell us if eBay is rethinking its apparent cozy 
relationship with law enforcement. Also remember that eBay owns PayPal now. 
Doesn't David Chaum's blind signature systems patent (for anonymous digital 
cash) expire in July 2005? --Declan]


From: "Bruce Gowens" <billygoatbruce@hotmail.com>
To: declan@well.com
Subject: eBay, police & privacy
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 12:39:15 -0800

   The story is at:
(nothing like long URL's you have to cut and paste).

    eBay apparently will reveal everything about you to any authority 
without any court protections upon a simple request.  That includes 
personal data, what you have bought or sold (including book titles), etc.


From: "ama-gi ISPI" <ISPI4Privacy@earthlink.net>
To: "Institute for the Study of Privacy Issues" <ispi4privacy@earthlink.net>
Cc: <politech@politechbot.com>, "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>
Subject: eBay bends over backward to provide data to law enforcement
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 02:22:19 -0800

Hello Declan,

I think the POLITECH list may find this interesting.

Kind Regards,

Mark Hughes
Institute for the Study of Privacy Issues (ISPI)

Big Brother is watching you - and documenting

             eBay, ever anxious to up profits, bends over backward
             to provide data to law enforcement officials

By Yuval Dror

  "I don't know another Web site that has a privacy policy as flexible as
eBay's," says Joseph Sullivan. A little bit later, Sullivan explains what he
means by the term "flexible." Sullivan is director of the "law enforcement
and compliance" department at eBay.com, the largest retailer in the world.
Sullivan says eBay has recorded and documented every iota of data that has
come through the Web site since it first went online in 1995. Every time
someone makes a bid, sells an item, writes about someone else, even when the
company cancels a sale for whatever reason - it documents all of the
pertinent information.
"We don't make you show a subpoena, except in exceptional cases," Sullivan
told his listeners. "When someone uses our site and clicks on the `I Agree'
button, it is as if he agrees to let us submit all of his data to the legal
authorities. Which means that if you are a law-enforcement officer, all you
have to do is send us a fax with a request for information, and ask about
the person behind the seller's identity number, and we will provide you with
his name, address, sales history and other details - all without having to
produce a court order. We want law enforcement people to spend time on our
site," he adds. He says he receives about 200 such requests a month, most of
them unofficial requests in the form of an email or fax.



From: Eric Cordian <emc@artifact.psychedelic.net>
Subject: eBay's Patriotism
To: cypherpunks
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 11:17:12 -0800 (PST)

There's an interesting story on the home page of
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/ disclosing eBay's policy of giving all
information they have on a user to any guvment-appearing person who asks
for it.

It's well known that eBay ruminates over what fraud could do to its
reputation, and employs a slew of former prosecutors and ex-LEA types to
be on the constant lookout for it.

Nonetheless, it's somewhat stunning to see eBay's policy articulated in
print, in somewhat less disingenuous terms than are articulated in the "I
Agree" link one clicks when registering with the site.

It's probably not a bright idea to login to eBay when just browsing items.



One fax to eBay from a lawman - police investigator, NSA, FBI or CIA
employee, National Park ranger - and eBay sends back the user's full name,
email address, home address, mailing address, home telephone number, name
of company where seller is employed and user nickname. What's more, eBay
will send the history of items he has browsed, feedbacks received, bids he
has made, prices he has paid, and even messages sent in the site's various
discussion groups.


Eric Michael Cordian 0+
O:.T:.O:. Mathematical Munitions Division
"Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law"

POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/
Like Politech? Make a donation here: http://www.politechbot.com/donate/
Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/

Enter your email address to join Politech, Declan McCullagh's moderated technology and politics announcement list:

Return to politechbot.com