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Letters: Jul. 23, 2001

4 minute read

A Net of Identity Thieves

“Cyberspace thieves are the same as Old West outlaws. The territory is wide open, and the bad guys think they can successfully hide out.” R. JERRY NAEGELE Papillion, Neb.

The Internet isn’t the secure, democratic information highway we once hoped it would be [INTERNET INSECURITY, July 2], and spying software is now being used by parents to track the activities of their young children surfing the Net. This can be a boon to concerned and vigilant parents who wish to keep the predators and pornographers who lurk in cyberspace away from their kids. SAUL CARTER Modesto, Calif.

Preventing computer-network attacks and security breaches is not just a matter of installing the latest technology but also one of information security awareness. Employees are vulnerable to computer virus attacks, laptop theft, et cetera. Everyone needs to be concerned about information security and privacy, not just the technology world. People are the ultimate barrier to information theft. STACEY ESCOFFERY, PRESIDENT InfoSec Awareness LLC New York City

You missed the amazing amount of highly personal information that people provide to Web job sites when they post their resume or complete a profile. Many of these sites offer minimal protection of this confidential data, or none at all. Please bring this important risk to your readers’ attention. SUSAN P. JOYCE, PRESIDENT NETability Inc. Marlborough, Mass.

I was surprised to learn that my Social Security number is supposed to be confidential. That same Social Security number that I print at the top of all my college term papers, directly beneath my name? The number that was announced in lieu of my first name when I went to retrieve “confidential” blood-test results? The number I spout to customer-service representatives who need to verify my identity? SARA SCHROEDER Newton, Mass.

–Are you afraid of Internet identity thieves? Spooked by cyberspies? We noticed that an unusual number of you, leery perhaps of putting your privacy at risk, withheld your name and address from your letters. Generally we don’t publish anonymous letters, but we do make exceptions in special situations.

Prevaricating Professor

Historian and Mount Holyoke professor Joseph Ellis fabricated stories about his experiences in Vietnam but never saw active duty in the war [HISTORY, July 2]. That is a disgrace. Ellis needs to go to the Vietnam Memorial and touch every name on the wall. He will then realize what he has done. SEAN MCMONAGLE Cleveland, Ohio

I wouldn’t be overly critical of Ellis’ confabulations in his classroom when he taught about the Vietnam War. I would suspect that he merely animated his topic a bit. True, it’s embarrassing for Ellis–and he ought not to have done it–but as a mark of scholastic duplicity, it gets a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. DOUG URBANUS Ben Lomond, Calif.

The Yates Tragedy

For a woman with a history of self-destructive mental problems like those of Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children [NATION, July 2], dealing with them was certainly stressful enough. But to be home-schooling the kids without daily help until well after she had bottomed out smacks of emotional abandonment. I hate to say this, given the grief her husband must be feeling, but he is either insensitive or incredibly stupid. MARIA SMITH Sycamore, Ill.

Hillary Clinton was right. It does take a village to raise a child. Then maybe someone would have noticed. HARRIET C. LONG South Burlington, Vt.

China Crushes Falun Gong

The Chinese government started its persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual movement because it is afraid of anything it does not tightly control [World, July 2]. But this group is not even remotely interested in political power. This is just one more example of brutal Chinese suppression and persecution. FRANK XIE Atlanta

The King of Queens

Re the death of All In The Family’s Carroll O’Connor [MILESTONES, July 2]: In this era of TV comedy, where the mostly young and beautiful inhabit whimsical, decorated worlds, the working-class Archie Bunker and his family made a bold statement about ordinary people confronting timeless subjects. Archie was a stubborn and ignorant racist, but he was always thwarted in the end. JAMES G. COLSTON Portland, Maine

The President Was a Prankster

Garry Trudeau’s story on George W. Bush’s youthful shenanigans in creating fake ID cards for his friends [ESSAY, July 2] demonstrates conclusively that Dubya was a smart aleck in prep school, and that Trudeau remains to this day the guy who would run to the dean to squeal on him. TERRY MAHER Murrysville, Pa.

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