My New Year's resolution was to research enterprise privacy technologies. Although intellectually rewarding, it didn't seem like a very smart business move: after all, few American businesses, consumers or regulators pay much attention to privacy. The few exceptions are a handful of specific issues regarding credit or health data. From a systems viewpoint, those can be handled, effectively if crudely, on a patchwork basis. Therefore, interest in comprehensive privacy infrastructure, let alone fundamental privacy technology theory, has been pretty much nil.

However, as I write this in early March, the headlines include ChoicePoint's release of 145,000 consumer records to fraudulent buyers, Bank of America's loss of backup tapes containing credit card data on 1.2 million federal employees including U.S. senators, and the tragic hacking of Paris Hilton's cell phone. With Paris as its poster girl, we can truly say that privacy is hot.

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