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The Nation finally realizes that eBay is cozy with the cops



I invited eBay to respond to a Feb 2003 report that raised the same concerns:
http://www.politechbot.com/p-04485.html
To the best of my knowledge, eBay never responded to my invitation.

Since then, I've spoken with people who have attended meetings where eBay 
representatives have met with law enforcement to discuss this kind of 
information sharing. These people confirmed the Feb 2003 report that 
appeared in Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper.

-Declan

---

http://thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030707&s=engle

    June 20, 2003
    Buyer Bewaree Bay Security Chief Turns Website Into Arm of the Lawby
    Jonah Engle

    Speaking at a conference this winter on Internet crime, eBay.com's
    director of law enforcement and compliance, Joseph Sullivan, offered
    law-enforcement officials extensive access to personal customer
    information.

    Founded in 1995 as a niche site for collectibles, eBay quickly grew
    into one of the Internet's largest websites, currently boasting 69
    million daily visitors, who place an average of 7.7 million bids each
    day. The company, now valued at $29.6 billion, has become synonymous
    with online shopping, and is rapidly expanding overseas.

    The talk, "Working with Law Enforcement," was delivered at the
    CyberCrime 2003 conference in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Sullivan, who
    left the Justice Department to become senior counsel for rules, trust
    and safety at eBay last year, told the audience of law-enforcement
    officials and industry executives that he didn't "know another website
    that has a privacy policy as flexible as eBay's," seemingly meaning
    that eBay acts particularly quickly to grant law enforcement extensive
    access to user information without regard to established legal
    procedures that protect individuals from civil rights abuses by the
    state.

    Brags Sullivan, "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." (eBay itself goes further than this,
    employing six investigators who are charged with tracking down
    "suspicious people" and "suspicious behavior.")

    Seventy percent of eBay customers, as well as a significant portion of
    the rest of the online commercial world, make their purchases using
    (eBay-owned) Paypal, which provides clearing services for online
    financial transactions. Through Paypal, eBay has access to the
    financial records of tens of millions of customers. "If you contact
    me," said Sullivan to assembled law-enforcement authorities, "I will
    hook you up with the Paypal people. They will help you get the
    information you're looking for.... In order to give you details about
    credit-card transactions, I have to see a court order. I suggest that
    you get one, if that's what you're looking for."

    [...]




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