Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 640, October 9, 2011

"What is Western Civilization?
The undeniable triumph of the individual"

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Opting Out and Fedex Shredding
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Recently, I was informed by an e-mail to the address I used with the now-defunct Borders book stores that my data and personal purchasing information was being transferred from Borders to Barnes and Noble as a result of a sale of Borders's customer information that was approved by the bankruptcy court overseeing their dissolution. There was an opt-out choice, which I thought would un-subscribe me from further Barnes and Noble e-mail. On clicking that choice, I was subsequently presented with an e-mail which allowed me to confirm the choice. On clicking to confirm, I was presented with a screen that informs me that my data will not be transferred from Borders to Barnes and Noble.

Now, as it happens, I don't believe that's really true. And I believe that national government already has several copies of that database. But it does seem like worth doing, since it only took a few clicks. And it might be true.

Another recent event upset me very much. I was at Fedex Office, which is what Kinko's have become, owing to an urgent late evening printing obligation. So while I was awaiting service, a lady who had come in for some urgent copies, evidently for a job application, asked for her originals back, including all of her photo ID and socialist insecurity cards and the like. She also asked for the remaining copies. Without asking her approval, the clerk shredded the remaining copies.

Why does this fact upset me? Because shredding does not destroy the information. All shredding does is slightly randomise the data. It can still be re-assembled. And you have no idea what happens to Fedex shredded documents—for all you know they are reproduced by the FBI before being burned. Or never burned. I suppose I could look up what Fedex says they do, but I won't bother, since I won't trust their word.

How do you destroy the data? You shred, you burn, and you stir the ashes. This last step is essential because even paper ash contains readable words. Shred, burn, and stir, or have it done where you can see it being done. Until those three things are done, your data is vulnerable.

Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. His 1990 venture to offer a sweepstakes trip into space was destroyed by government action as was his free port and prospective space port in Somalia in 2001. His 2002-2007 venture in free market money and private stock exchange was destroyed by government action in 2007. He's going to Mars if he has to walk. His second book, Being Sovereign is now availble from Lulu and Amazon. He is currently working on a book about travel to Mars with John Wayne Smith, a book with international fugitive Chad Z. Hower on his story, a book on sovereign self-defence, and a book compiling his letters and essays in "The Libertarian Enterprise" from 1995 to 2010. Contact him at or Come visit IndSovU teams at gatherings in October 2011 in Indiana, December 2011 in Florida, and March 2012 in Austin, Texas. Or join State Busters.

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