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Scientific Possibilities Generate Options and Doubts

The article "Communications Advances Raise Privacy Concerns," Jan. 2, is valuable. I like its principles, but an example the author uses is poor.

One of the author's standards for guaranteeing communication privacy is: "Consistency so that broad ideals, rather than specific characteristics of a technology, determine privacy protection." The example given is that tuning a short-wave radio to a transmission from a cordless phone would be equivalent to overhearing a corded phone conversation.

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Not so. The person tuning in with a radio could be using a retail product in its normal manner. A person listening in on a corded phone would have to tap a wire, install a device, or otherwise do something for the sole purpose of eavesdropping. I question the equivalence in this example, not the need for privacy. Thomas E. Wulling, St. Paul, Minn.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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