To the Editor: P3P False Security?

Corrections or additions?

These articles were prepared for the December 20, 2000 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

It’s that season again. For us it means taking a week

off from our normal publication schedule (no issue December 27, next

issue January 3), thanking all of you for your faithful readership

during the year (and hoping that you will stay with us in a

collectively

prosperous and healthy new year), and saluting the many people in

our community who give so much during the year to make things a little

better (see our annual Helping Hands feature beginning on page 17).

As always, we are astonished at how many people find time to do their

own jobs and then help someone else. What makes them do it? We asked

a woman who has been a volunteer and who now coordinates the efforts

of many volunteers. "Volunteering for a charity," says Theresa

Comprelli, "brings people out of their homes to a different type

of experience, so they get a different understanding of why people

are in need."

Comprelli directs Hands on Helpers, a community service organization

that has transformed volunteerism in Central New Jersey by setting

up an online database of volunteer opportunities. Before, when you

had the urge to get involved as a volunteer, you found your

opportunity

by chance, by word of mouth, or from an article you read in the paper.

Now you can search on an interactive website, by computer or

telephone.

Hands on Helpers (609-921-8893; fax, 609-921-8894,

www.handsonhelpers.org)

shares office space at 120 John Street with Family and Children’s

Services of Central Jersey. The service is privately funded, and there

is no charge to the requesting organization or the volunteers.

At the website you will find an impressive list of volunteer

opportunities.

Search from the list of organizations, from the list of special

events,

or by filling out a questionnaire. The questionnaire asks what times

you want to work (weekly? sporadically? Thursday nights?) and the

cause you hope to serve — 15 choices ranging from animals or the

environment to children or the elderly. Specify skills that you have

from a list of more than five dozen. You can even search on

opportunities

for your company to work as a group.

One such search produced 75 viable opportunities, everything from

helping to break the cycle of poverty by tutoring homeless adults

at HomeFront, to operating the boiler for the Delaware River Steamboat

Floating Classroom project, to serving as a magazine room volunteer

at the Princeton Public Library.

Click on the description of an opportunity and get a complete rundown

of the organization’s mission, plus the skills and times that the

volunteer job calls for.

If you want to recruit volunteers, Hands on Helpers will help. "We

work with any group, from a small grass roots group such as the

Trenton-based

Queen and King Society that uses African-American culture to empower

neighbors, all the way to Princeton Medical Center, that has hundreds

of volunteers," Comprelli says.

The daughter of a contractor and a guidance counselor — both of

whom continue to volunteer on their first aid squad in Hudson County,

Comprelli majored in health and human services at the University of

Buffalo, Class of 1992, and she directed the volunteer placement

office

there. From Rutgers she has a master’s degree in social work.

She has volunteered in a classroom for emotionally disturbed children,

and also with a community AIDS organization, and these experiences

were a dramatic influence on her life. "Twelve years later, I

understand that if you are a volunteer, you get a better understanding

of what the charity is about, where the donation goes, and how your

time helps. You get a much different understanding of why people are

in need, and you begin to see them as human beings instead of

stereotypes

or statistics."

Comprelli says the promise of technology lured her to this job.

"In

my 10 years of working with nonprofits, technology was usually a

low-end

priority, and it was exciting to be able to use the Internet to

support

nonprofits."

— Barbara Fox

Top Of Page
To the Editor: P3P False Security?

The December 13 Survival Guide column, "Internet

Privacy? New P3P Guidelines" described the P3P computer privacy

standard being developed by AT&T, IBM, and Microsoft, which is

promising

that P3P privacy protection will be included in Internet Explorer

Version 6.

My personal feeling is that this is an attempt by industry to prevent

the government from passing laws regarding on-line privacy, as has

been done in Europe, and to give the public a false sense of security.

Products and websites will use the P3P privacy standard (the "Good

Housekeeping Seal"), but outfits like Double Click will continue

to collect and sell personal data.

P3P appears to be an attempt by the industry to prevent legal privacy

suits against them. The P3P privacy seal will create a veneer of

privacy

protection that few users will understand and question. In the

meantime,

it will slow down browser performance, probably cause many users to

have web access problems, and destroy what little remains of our

personal

privacy.

— Sol Libes


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