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Obama May Toughen Internet Privacy Rules

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-2010-and-we're-still-debating-it dept.

Privacy 222

CWmike writes "The Obama administration is considering plans to step up policing of Internet privacy issues and to establish a new position to direct the effort, reports the WSJ, which cites unnamed sources. Any push for stronger federal oversight over online privacy is likely to be welcomed by privacy advocates increasingly concerned about the data-collection and data-sharing practices of big Internet and marketing companies. High profile cases such as the uproar over Facebook's personal data collection habits and the public reaction to Google's continuing problems over its Street View Wi-Fi snooping have created a broader awareness of online privacy issues. The big question, though, is just how successful any fresh attempt at enforcing new privacy strictures on the Internet will be with Republicans soon to be in charge of the House."

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Bias? (4, Insightful)

imamac (1083405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210312)

The big question, though, is just how successful any fresh attempt at enforcing new privacy strictures on the Internet will be with Republicans soon to be in charge of the House.

Let's try not to be so blatant with our biases next time.

Re:Bias? (1, Funny)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210366)

"Let's try not to be so blatant with our biases next time," says imamac

Re:Bias? (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210438)

That's not bias, because it's what he believes! We all know bias only comes into play when it contradicts your opinion.

Note: The general "your opinion", not "your opinion, mkiwi".

Re:Bias? (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210976)

"Well, entity X is biased, but they're biased for GOOD, that doesn't really count."

Re:Bias? (-1, Troll)

Dayofswords (1548243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210418)

That's not a bais, that's the truth.
republicans have different opinions than democrats, and any bill needs majority to pass, which republicans now have majority.

Re:Bias? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210514)

You guys need to make a new shorthand for it, I had to go look up what they meant by "The House" because as someone not TOO familiar with American Politics, I naturally assumed they meant The White House, which kind of shocked me that they already knew the outcomes of the next elections.

The House of Representatives, can't you guys call it like, the RepHouse or something so that us Canadians aren't all wtf eh?

Or better yet, paint the white house some other colour...

I'm thinking... Mauve?

Re:Bias? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210540)

How painting White House to let's say Red House would change the word "House" away?

Re:Bias? (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210714)

The White House is not shorthanded to the house. So that will clear it up for you. The House is congress, the White House is the presidency.

Re:Bias? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210864)

Well yeah - I get that NOW.

But if you don't know that - when you waltz in on the conversation, and someone says "The House" you intuitively think "The White House" and not "Congress"

Re:Bias? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210996)

I automatically think the house of representatives. Congress is the union of the house and the senate.

Re:The House (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211284)

It's a Canadian thing. In Canada, "The House" is the House of Commons--our counterpart to Congress.

Our counterpart to the White House is Rideau Hall, but there the similarity ends with a resounding crash.

Re:Bias? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211442)

The House is congress, the White House is the presidency.

But even that's not right...

The House (of Representatives) is the lower chamber of Congress, the Senate is the upper chamber.

But controlling one-half of Congress is enough to stymie legislation, so the outcome is the same in this case.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210738)

Not sure how much sarcasm is in your post, but the White House is never called just the House. 'The House' always refers to the House of Representatives.

God save the Queen.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210962)

That's OK. I don't even have a clue to who your Prime Minister is.

Re:Bias? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211380)

Stephen Harper.

Try not to play into the stereotype of the clueless American next time, the rest of your countryman don't appreciate being lumped in with folks like you.

Re:Bias? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211512)

Stephen Harper.

Try not to play into the stereotype of the clueless American next time, the rest of your countryman don't appreciate being lumped in with folks like you.

Don't worry, Canadians can be just as clueless. After all, we elected Stephen Harper. :P

Re:Bias? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211110)

I'm a Canadian and I knew what the reference meant.

Re:Bias? (4, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210532)

republicans have different opinions than democrats

In the current climate, it would be more likely that regardless of opinions there will be no bill in congress that will have support from both democrats and republicans.

Re:Bias? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211392)

it would be more likely that regardless of opinions there will be no bill in congress that will have support from both democrats and republicans.

I bet the bill that names shit back home after the currently sitting Congressman who brings home the bacon will pass nearly unanimously.

Different opinions? Or different contributors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210630)

republicans have different opinions than democrats

This is somewhat of a stretch. From what I can tell, almost all democrats and almost all republicans equally hold the opinion that they should get as much money from lobbyists as possible. So the real difference is in which monied interests have them in their pocket.

I am still amazed that people just keep voting for "the other side" over and over, then being shocked when the new/old guard turns out to be just as corrupt and awful as the old/new guard.

Will we never learn that the only way to have real governance is to have governance without politicians? [metagovernment.org]

Re:Different opinions? Or different contributors? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210812)

There is a huge difference between Dems and Reps. You see, the Dems take money orders, and the Reps take cashier's checks.

Re:Different opinions? Or different contributors? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211428)

You see, the Dems take money orders, and the Reps take cashier's checks.

Libertarians take gold bullion [wikipedia.org] ;)

Re:Different opinions? Or different contributors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211108)

Only a giant octopus can suck harder than you.

Re:Different opinions? Or different contributors? (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211456)

Will we never learn that the only way to have real governance is to have governance without politicians? [metagovernment.org]

Yes, let's all welcome the tyranny of the majority.

And while we're at it, the tyranny of the uninformed.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211338)

That's not a bais, that's the truth.
republicans have different opinions than democrats, and any bill needs majority to pass, which republicans now have majority.

Heh.

I want the same amount of privacy this "most transparent administration ever" gets.

Like closed meetings regarding government openness. [google.com]

Re:Bias? (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210420)

How is that being biased? Republicans are beholden to different corporate interests, and by a different set of constituents. They have also stated their intention of blocking anything Obama tries to do, at least as much as they can with control of only the House.

It's not bias, it's a statement of fact based on an examination of the current political climate.

Re:Bias? (2, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210472)

They have also stated their intention of blocking anything Obama tries to do, at least as much as they can with control of only the House.

By the way, in case anyone wants a source on my claim, here's one of many [washingtonpost.com] . Five seconds on Google will net you a large number of hits.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210480)

Re:Bias? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210506)

From your own link:

"Like Halliburton in the previous administration, Google has an exceptionally close relationship with the current administration," the letter says.

So, yes, they are beholden to different corporate interests.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210914)

It seems that the Obama Administration has awarded a $500 million contract to Halliburton .. and there were no bids. A no-bid contract to Halliburton. Imagine that!

Look here -
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-06/kbr-to-get-no-bid-army-work-as-u-s-alleges-kickbacks-update1-.html

Still want to claim they're different? Hmmm?

Re:Bias? (4, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210988)

All righty then...taken directly from the article you just linked:

The Army announced its decision yesterday only hours after the Justice Department said it will pursue a lawsuit accusing the Houston-based company of taking kickbacks from two subcontractors on Iraq-related work. The Army also awarded the work to KBR over objections from members of Congress, who have pushed the Pentagon to seek bids for further logistics contracts.

The Justice Department said the government will join a suit filed by whistleblowers alleging that two freight-forwarding firms gave KBR transportation department employees kickbacks in the form of meals, drinks, sports tickets and golf outings.

"Defense contractors cannot take advantage of the ongoing war effort by accepting unlawful kickbacks," Assistant Attorney General Tony West said in a statement.

Care to try again?

Re:Bias? (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210590)

Meanwhile, prominent republicans have close ties with Haliburton and nobody bats an eye. Nowadays, it's not surprising to see any political party tied to a corporation. My point is not that it's not wrong, but a tad hypocritical of the republicans to point fingers; but meh, this is politics. I think that the GPs post still stands: they're beholden to different corporate interests rather than corporate interests in general.

Re:Bias? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210670)

Didn't we already do this pissing contest earlier this week?

Re:Bias? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210558)

So we're supposed to pretend that the republican controlled house will suddenly stop trying to kill anything Obama does? There's unbiased and then there's naive.

Re:Bias? (2, Insightful)

Biggseye (1520195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210786)

Nah, This guy is just next in line for the job. Leave it to Obama-nation to come up with another "position". More of my tax money for another stupid program run by stupid people for the benefit of the Federal Employees and the Obama ra ra section of the major media. And worst of all, some of you actually thing it is a good idea. Obviously you have head buried someplace dark, smelly and damp for the last 2 years. Get a grip...

Re:Bias? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211176)

The republican have said, multiple times now, that they will block anything Obama puts forward. It's not a bias, it's a fact.

|

Terminating traffic in another country (2, Insightful)

SteelRat (11640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210324)

Okay. I think I'm done. I'm going to terminate my traffic, all of it, via VPN in some other country.

Re:Terminating traffic in another country (3, Informative)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210656)

But not India, Britain or some of the more authoritarian yet surprisingly first world countries out there, because they all demand access to encrypted traffic.

Hopefully Obama will take this more seriously than (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210334)

he did his commitments to government transparency and an end to partisan politics as usual.

Re:Hopefully Obama will take this more seriously t (1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210664)

It takes two parties to engage in bipartisan politics. What you're suggesting is just complete asinine rubbish. The President went way out of his way to include the GOP in the process, and they opted to shut things down anyways. By design he doesn't have any good ways of forcing the opposition party to do it's part to do things in a bipartisan fashion.

I call (4, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210340)

bullshit.

"The big question, though, is just how successful any fresh attempt at enforcing new privacy strictures on the Internet will be with Republicans soon to be in charge of the House."

The Democrats have proven themselves to be just as guilty in this regard so please refrain from the partisianship.

Re:I call (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210596)

Isn't that the idea behind the statement? Democrats have utterly failed so the question is will the Republicans do it any different?

Or you can look at it procedurally in that any time a house of Congress changes its power structure the effects of any law passed during a lame duck session of Congress may change. If you wish, you can mentally switch Republican with Democrat to mirror other changes of power, but today it's swinging D to R so the question is valid.

Re:I call (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210626)

The Democrats have proven themselves to be just as guilty in this regard so please refrain from the partisianship.

I think the summary implied partisanship, not actual ideological differences, could kill this. Maybe the atmosphere will be calmer now, but I suspect if Obama were to endorse trickle down economics, prayer in schools, and outlawing abortion, some republicans would try to block it out of pure spite.

agreed (1)

tizan (925212) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211166)

The 2 parties have primary goals is to oppose whatever the other proposes...except for going to war !

Re:I call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211368)

The partisanship is the big issue. Whether or not Republicans and Democrats actually want this privacy, Republican leaders have said that, with control of the house, their "top political priority for the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office," primarily by blocking any legislation they can. It's not so much that Republicans hate the idea of privacy on the internet or government regulation, it's that if Obama wants it, they will try and stop it, regardless of what it is.

Senator Mitch McConnell - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44688.html

Re:I call (0, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit170 (1939490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210712)

you're hypocritically creating partisanship of your own.

Re:I call (1)

thehostiles (1659283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210830)

am I the only one severely disturbed by double standard of this article?
Xray vans and upped security everywhere, yet as soon as facebook and google does this, it's suddenly bad.

Governments should adhere to their own standards, IMO

Re:I call (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211072)

It isn't bullshit. You misunderstood. When the Republican strategy is to oppose anything Obama tries, then it will probably cause an issue if he tries to enforce new privacy laws.

Re:I call (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211202)

Please name any point in the last 50 years where the democrats were blatant obstructionists.

Re:I call (2, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211526)

In fact, Slashdot just posted a story about the right-leaning NLPC writing to the House Oversight Committee [slashdot.org] to investigate Google's relationship with Obama after the FTC dismissed its inquiry into the WiFi snooping controversy. Other Republicans were cited in the article as being very interested in investigating Google's WiFi snooping. So Republicans may actually be pretty open about instituting privacy rules.

People in that previous story criticized the NLPC for being a Republican front group. It is kind of amusing that in one article, Republicans trying to investigate a privacy breach were called biased, while in the next, Republicans are considered too biased to institute any privacy rules. Though, to be fair, the summary in this case may not have been implying that so much as just remarking about the general opposition Obama will be facing from an opposing party.

knee jerk reaction (0)

Nickodeemus (1067376) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210342)

Typical knee jerk reaction from the over-reaching government. What they should do, instead, is do a public service program to educate people on what the potential problems with the loss of or inappropriate use of their personal information is. Then allow the consumer to decide what to do about the problem themselves. Perhaps they care about the issue and will avoid sites that abuse their personal information. Or perhaps they don't care and will not waste their time on the issue. Either way this is bound to be tangibly and intangibly cheaper for the general populace than additional control exerted by the government.

Re:knee jerk reaction (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210486)

Then allow the consumer to decide what to do about the problem themselves.

Most consumers will do nothing. Educating them will do nothing except waste money. All that will happen is the consumers who do end up losing everything will complain because the government didn't do more to prevent it. They'll complain and get some politician needing an issue to promote to force a half-assed plan into place. Its better to at least attempt a rational level-headed method than something done as a rushed response to a sudden public outcry.

I'm sure the government will do something sensible like require all internet traffic to be encrypted. To make things easier they'll even give you your own personal set of keys to use. Dont worry if you ever lose your keys because they'll keep a set for you.

Re:knee jerk reaction (3, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210530)

The only solution to have privacy is to do nothing on the internet or transact business of any sort.

That's impossible now. In order to get a job you have to apply on the internet - many times with third party companies that have their own multi-page legalese filled "Terms of Service" that has the "we reserve the right to change these terms at anytime" bullshit clause.

My credit union uses a third party for many of their back office and web services.

Many companies spread your personal information all over the World without your consent - the credit bureaus, insurance companies, banks, and just about any firm that handles your most private data. They share data with credit bureaus, other companies that collect data, Governments, etc...

Aside from living under a rock, living "off the grid" and doing business with no one, there's no way for the consumer to control their personal information - none.

I have been doing my best and yet, just googling myself, it sickens me how much personal information is out there - current information.

Re:knee jerk reaction (3, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210546)

Secure a mans fish and you starve him for a day. Teach a man to secure his fish and he'll call you an idiot and eat it.

What were we talking about again?

The bigger picture (4, Funny)

tylerni7 (944579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210348)

I'm all for more privacy, but all this means is the NSA and those other three letter agencies have decided it's easier to snoop on us without asking Facebook and others simply hand over the data they need.

Great. Now where did I put that tinfoil hat...

so that means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210374)

that the big internet and marketing companies will be writing the legislation. Bye bye, net neutrality.

No he won't (2, Insightful)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210400)

He might try, but the republicans will block it.

Re:No he won't (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210450)

That's not to say the Dems wouldn't have, either. Even if this does go through, it'll wind up a shredded mess, useless mess. Neither party has championed the privacy of its citizenry. The Democrats had plenty of opportunity to cut down the unwarranted federal wiretapping where it stood, but instead chose to extend and further empower it.

Until either side does away with it, taking any of them seriously about privacy is an non-starter.

Re:No he won't (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211142)

Those in power never willingly cede those powers. Power has but one purpose, to engorge and enlarge itself as much as possible. The Founding Fathers were pretty bright, but still, all the power brokers will try everything in their arsenal of tricks and rhetoric to take as much power as they can.

Re:No he won't (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211258)

which is why you should assist the fledgling US Pirate Party instead, if you care about the issues.

Re:No he won't (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210644)

That should be "He might try, BECUASE the republicans will block it.

and thus goes the transfer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210430)

The gradual transfer of power to our benevolent masters begins.

I don't have to do business with google. I don't have to run their scripts or whitelist their servers. I don't have to unblock doubleclick.

I don't have to to business with facebook.

That's the difference between privacy industry and the government.

Once the govt gets its claws on the *content* of the internet, it's never letting go, not ever, and it's only going to grab more and more in wee little bites that each are not very big and are each very reasonable. I mean who could argue against protecting our privacy? Or keeping the children safe? Or catching terrorists?

Yes, it's great that DARPA funded the net from the beginning. But I don't think we want the government in the "content regulation" business.

Re:and thus goes the transfer... (1)

lurking_giant (1087199) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210606)

"We the people of the US" funded the inception and development of the Net thru the use of "our" tax dollars which DARPA invested into cutting edge communications research. Here's a quarter ($.25)to go buy a clue. All content is regulated even if you think otherwise. In fact... I'm sure you're doing it yourself at the moment. Self regulation is still regulation!

Re:and thus goes the transfer... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211014)

7 digit uid?

You probably haven't paid fuckall any taxes youngin'! GB2HS, you're late for class.

Saved... (5, Insightful)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210476)

From the evil data-mining corporations out for our private data.

Still no word on whether or not we will be saved from a prying government with increased authority over internet communication and encryption.

I support privacy, but not govt enforcement of it (0, Troll)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210482)

I support measures to increase privacy, but not government enforcement or government decided rules. We need SMALLER federal government, not bigger.

Re:I support privacy, but not govt enforcement of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210822)

I support measures to increase privacy, but not government enforcement or government decided rules. We need SMALLER federal government, not bigger.

So how do you propose that we implement such measures?

Re:I support privacy, but not govt enforcement of (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210902)

Agreed. Actually, I'd say we need a less intrusive, less powerful (thus capable of doing less damage) government, and that certainly equates to a smaller govt.

Regarding the central point of governmental oversight - Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

In the 20th century, governments murdered 260 million of their own citizens (google Prof RJ Rummel, Univ of Hawaii). Corporations have done vast damage also, but to blithely assume the feds are 1) capable of such oversight and 2) able to effectuate such a responsibility without abusing the immense power this would place within their grasp, is to ignore all of the lessons of history. It's to assume a grizzly bear is a teddy bear. A poor outcome is probable.

I'd rather be data mined by a corporation and receive offers for goods and services I don't want than be data mined by the ATF/DEA/FBI/NSA/etc and mistakenly placed on a no-fly list or be audited by the IRS. Whatever happened to American common sense??? Gone with the wind.

What we really need is punishment for violation (4, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210610)

Right now, when your privacy is violated, they say "My bad" and keep on going. We need a law that says something like: 1. For violating all non-medical, non-sexual privacy, (revealing Social Security information, bank account information, phone numbers, etc.) each incident costs the violater $100 fine per person 2. For violating medical privacy, each incident costs the violater $800 fine per person 3. For violating sexual privacy, each incident costs the violater $5,000 fine per person Having the fines go to the EFF (to avoid spurious lawsuits) This would be in addition to the legal right to sue for damages.

Re:What we really need is punishment for violation (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211156)

What's needed is a constitutional amendment explicitly delivering privacy rights. Anything less will always allow the politicians the means to circumvent protections.

Re:What we really need is punishment for violation (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211266)

methinks you need to straighten your priorities.

A Symptom of the Problem! (4, Informative)

SirAstral (1349985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210614)

Is this not the typical reaction by the average idiot American? Let government legislate a cure to our problem? Are we not supposed to be a free market? When will we say as a group, we refuse to use facebook, or any other site for that matter, until they provide agreements that protect our private data? Instead we just give corporations everything we have so THEY can make money off YOU, and your only concern is why is the government not doing anything about it?

The Government's track record leaves little for debate. The standard is to over charge taxpayers for a system with loop holes that only result in the public "feeling better" without actually solving the real problem. Ladies and Gentlemen, do you want your privacy? Then stop giving it away like retarded little tripe's without a care in the world while expecting the government to swoop in and rescue you like a mythical Superman. If you have not been paying any attention the government does not care about your privacy when it concerns them. They want to be able to stop, search, and seize you and your property any time they please regardless of the constitution. If you think they really care about your privacy, I have some top quality products I would like to sell you! A fool and their money as well as their liberty are soon parted!

Re:A Symptom of the Problem! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210752)

What other recourse do we have? Sure, we could just not log into Facebook, but that would be inconvenient! And we could enable encryption for WiFi, but that too would be inconvenient. It's much easier to force others to do things how we want.

Re:A Symptom of the Problem! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211026)

What other recourse do we have? Sure, we could just not log into Facebook, but that would be inconvenient!

Actually, I cannot see any inconvenience. I never logged into Facebook, and I never missed anything.

Re:A Symptom of the Problem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210858)

Although I do not know what a "retarded little tripe" is, I agree with what you say. It just amazes me that in 2010 people are *still* freely allowing google to run tracking scripts on their computers. It amazes me that anyone still loads web bugs. It amazes me that there are people who have not blackholed doubleclick.

Anyone who does those things, in my opinion, has lost their right to complain about privacy. Those people ARE the reason why the privacy situation on the internet sucks. It sucks because people freely give up their own privacy in exchange for trinkets, or often, in exchange for nothing whatsoever.

The the same government that wants warrantless wiretapping and virtual strip searches at airports is not one I'm going to trust to guard my privacy, thank you very much.

Re:A Symptom of the Problem! (4, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211138)

Sounds great if everyone was like you, but they are not. They aren't aware that privacy is an issue. You may want to call them stupid or whatever but they aren't as tech savvy as people on here. Expecting everyone to "do the right thing" when they have no idea that they need to isn't realistic. Educating is key as well as encouraging our government representatives to add laws that protect consumer. You act as if all government rules and regulations do nothing to help fix problems. Look at China...see how well they are doing without government regulations for pretty much any product they create. So yeah, our government isn't perfect, but saying they can't do anything is just the stupid stuff that gets circle jerked around on here.

Google didn't "invade" anyone's privacy (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210618)

Can we please stop calling Google's Wifi drive-by data collection a "Privacy violation" - they only collected traffic that was publicly available because people chose to transmit it. If anything, it was good for public awareness, hopefully at least a few people encrypted their Wifi traffic because of it.

It's not like Google put the data up on their search engine, it was an artifact of the collection process leftover on corporate hard drives.

While it's nice to see lawmakers taking an interest in privacy, rather than go after Google, they should be going after the manufacturers that still sell access points that default to unencrypted traffic.

The danger that all of these people who had their data snooped face is not from Google -- it's not like Google is going to use their credit cards or try to steal their identity. The real danger is in having their data snooped by people with criminal intent.

Re:Google didn't "invade" anyone's privacy (2, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210728)

No shit. It's like claiming that my ISP is collecting data about my traffic because as a side-effect of how their routers work, some of the data is left in their memory for a period of time after they've routed the packet.

As I understand it, Google was collecting information about WiFi signals, particularly their names and locations. It chose to do so in a way that just logged everything their antennas picked up, so that they could then sift out the useful information later. Maybe their idea was that doing the sifting later avoided them missing something important, due to a software bug or something. It's like the way you use a digital camera: take lots of pictures, and pick out the good ones later, rather than be picky when taking and possibly miss an important shot.

Hell, when I walk down a street, the WiFi signals hitting my body probably leave some kind of signature in my molecules, perhaps moving them a bit, or changing their temperature slightly. Perhaps there's some way of extracting that information and OMG determining the data that was being transmitted as I walked past. Am I violating their privacy too? The question is whether I actually tried to extract said data. Did Google try to make use of this packet data it collected, or was it merely part of the noise they had to filter out later?

Google broke privacy laws (4, Interesting)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211162)

Actually, where I live, the collection of personal information is regulated by law, and Google is/was in flagrant violation of that law. It doesn't matter that the data was available in the clear, over the air : personal data is protected by law, and hand-waving excuses about technical errors or artifacts of collection process are irrelevant. I realise that the US has no proper privacy laws, but many other places (and all other industrialised nations) do have such legislation. Google simply ignored those laws, which is why they were called to task by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner and EU data regulators.

Re:Google broke privacy laws (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211386)

That's completely absurd. If I write my credit card number on the wall of my house, I can't sue people for looking at it because it's my personal information. Google cannot in any way ever be held responsible for people blatantly revealing their personal information. Even considering that Google did anything wrong at all here is complete and utter idiocy.

It's not Google's fault that Canadian law is ridiculous. You can't outlaw "seeing things that are plainly visible."

Well, I guess you did, but that doesn't make it not stupid.

Re:Google broke privacy laws (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211610)

That's completely absurd. If I write my credit card number on the wall of my house, I can't sue people for looking at it because it's my personal information.

You are right. That is completely absurd. Its also completely irrelevant.

Google cannot in any way ever be held responsible for people blatantly revealing their personal information.

Except that using an unencrypted wifi is really entirely nothing like writing something on the wall of your house.

You can't outlaw "seeing things that are plainly visible."

Do you walk down the street seeing and/or hearing wifi transmissions? Of course not. Its not "plainly visible".

They needed to actually connect to the wifi. Its the equivalent of opening a door. Sure its not locked or secured in anyway, but you still had to make a positive action to get "inside". And then once inside, they started recording everything.

Out of curiosity, If the occupant uses an older analog cordless phone (without encryption) do you figure you should be allowed to record all their phone calls too?

Note that this would be considered an illegal phone tap in most jurisdictions. Is that ridiculous too? What is the difference?

Given his track record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210620)

this means he'll "toughen" internet privacy by giving all of your data to spammers and identity thieves to "protect." After all, your data can't be stolen if it's already been given away.

Right.. Im going to trust the gov with privacy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210634)

The same government who gave the telcos a pass for illegal wire taps

the same government who promised transparency "all the debates will be on C-Span!"....

the same government who likes looking at naked pictures of aunt sally at the airports...

Yeah, thats who i want providing me privacy.....

Re:Right.. Im going to trust the gov with privacy. (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210726)

While I agree with your overall point, I'd like to take this moment to point out how awesome it is that C-SPAN 1, 2, and 3 exist. Being given a direct line-of-sight into our legislative process is rad as hell, especially when compared to the secretive inner workings of many other governments around the world.

The people that call-in during the morning show on C-SPAN Radio commonly say "Thank you for C-SPAN". There's a damn good reason for that.

Re:Right.. Im going to trust the gov with privacy. (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211416)

I think the debates themselves are more of the issue in that complaint, seeing as only parties that the two major parties approve [debatethis.org] are allowed to participate in them. The C-Span issue is an artifact of that, in so much as people assume the only valid debates are those controlled by the CPD and aired on C-Span, thus undermining the separate, third-party debates.

Do not want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210666)

While I agree in principle with the idea that privacy is generally a good thing...

I'm far more worried about government intrusion into my life as opposed to Facebook knowing I'm a fan of the McRib. Facebook has no ability to project military or even police power, whereas the government - at the rate it's going lately - will in ten years send agents to pick me up because I refuse to give into the legislated health NannyGestapo(tm).

YOU CAN HAVE MY BACON WHEN YOU PRY IT FROM MY COLD DEAD FINGERS, DO Y'HEAR ME?

Re:Do not want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210718)

...Facebook knowing I'm a fan of the McRib.

B. H. Obama likes this.

The problem is snooping, not advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210692)

The real problem is not Facebook selling targeted ads, but government "security letters" allowing them to snoop into your life from all kinds of sources without any judicial oversight and without ever telling you. I don't expect Obama will address any of that.

Re:The problem is snooping, not advertising (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210766)

Warning: unpopular opinion ahead.

As far as advertising is concerned, I'm actually GLAD that companies are "invading my privacy" in an attempt to display ads to me that are relevant to my interests. I don't give a crap about tampons, or Roth I.R.As, or some new Genital Wart drug. However, I DO care about AMDs latest processor, or some new Asus laptop, or a special deal going on with digital cameras.

Advertising is going to happen, no matter what you do. Yes, I know, I know...adblock and noscript. Still, regardless, advertising will reach you at some point in your day-to-day life. I would MUCH rather it be for something I care about. /rant

Re:The problem is snooping, not advertising (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211398)

I don't give a crap about tampons, or Roth I.R.As, or some new Genital Wart drug.

You're assuming that targeted advertising means you won't get ads for those kinds of products, since you think you're not interesting in those products. That's not quite true. Advertising dollars do the most good on 'fence-sitters'. Ad dollars are wasted if the person has no interest in the product (e.g. live in an area where it isn't available). But ad dollars are also mostly wasted if the person is already well-versed in a given subject: an expert on CPUs is more difficult to sway with flashy ads. Whereas middle-of-the-road consumers can be strongly affected by ads, often just because of brand recognition.

Example: Let's take your tampon example. When a guy gets a call from his girlfriend telling him to pick up some tampons while he's at the pharmacy, what is he going to buy? Hopefully he'll buy the brand that she likes. But failing that, he'll probably buy the brand that seems the most 'reputable', which basically means the brand he remembers from various commercials. When non-experts buy computers or other electronics, they're going to tend towards the brands they recognize. And so on...

Another aspect of marketing is to create new customers. You may not care about Roth I.R.A.s right now, but there are companies that want you to care, so that they can convert you into a customer. So, the very fact that you don't care about them, and have no particular opinion about them, makes you an ideal target for their advertising. (An expert in such matters is far more difficult to convert via advertising.)

So, just because you think tampon and I.R.A. ads are pointless to you, doesn't mean advertisers think that. In a highly targeted ad situation, you may well see ads for things that you don't (currently) care about.

All this to say that targeted advertising by no means implies "not-annoying" advertising. It's probably better than completely random advertising (there are certainly some classes of products that I don't care about and will never buy)... but it has its own annoyances. Ads, by their nature, are trying to convert your way of thinking, and thus will tend be disruptive and annoying to the target (at least in aggregate; obviously some commercials are fun). Keep in mind that what the advertisers do with their targeting data is not really in your best interest: they will be targeting you with attempts to change your spending patterns; they won't care about annoying/boring you with their ads, so long as there is a (statistical) increase in money being spent on their products.

Re:The problem is snooping, not advertising (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211592)

I wish I had mod points. I hadn't thought of it, but I have been in one of those situations where I favored the product I had heard of over the no-name product.

Special Slashdot Memo #7636281 ( +1, Helpful ) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210926)

What privacy?

Everything is intercepted [slashdot.org] .

Yours In Novosibirsk,
K. Trout

Charity begins at home... (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210956)

How about we start with "no more warrantless wiretaps" and by having the Executive Branch's own agencies reversing their insistence that America's telecom infrastructure be inherently snoopable by the spooks?

Re:Charity begins at home... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211080)

and maybe the TSA shouldn't molest airline passengers either.

My Privacy Anecdote (5, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211012)

So, that's nice that the government wants to crack down on sites like Facebook, but I think there are data mining things going on that most folk (even some on slashdot) are unaware of. For instance, awhile back I decided to switch my car insurance policy from company A to company B. When I contacted company B and had them quote me a rate, they said there was an at-fault accident on my record that shouldn't have been there. I asked them where they got that information because my DMV record was clean. They explained that they got their info. from a third party company that gets that kind of information from DMV. They told me I could contact the company to have the accident removed from my record, as there seemed to be no problem with the insurance company disputing the alleged incident (in other words, I am not paying for the accident). Well, I did some Googling and internet browsing and found the company. They list themselves as a data aggregation company (one that I had never heard of) that will sell information to any party interested (information like my personal driving record). There was a whole process you could go through to "opt-out" of their aggregation service, effectively limiting them from collecting information on you. I started the process which involved a few forms asking for personal information. Not wanting to give this company much more information, I just decided to call them instead.

I talked to a customer service rep. and they helped me get though the opt-out process without giving up much more in the way of personal info. The rep. quipped, however, that my efforts were pretty futile because there were countless other companies providing the same services. So I asked for those company names and, sure enough, eventually found their web presence with similar business-descriptions and opt-out policies. All of this data aggregation was happening unbeknown to myself and probably most folk that are not in the car insurance industry. Many of them had outdated records (they only mine DMV so often), and showed various false information about my driving record in their records. This was the info. that would be used to analyze my driving habits for insurance rates. All in all, it was breathtaking how flawed and vast this info. gathering network was.

So, long story short, the privacy thing goes a lot deeper than Facebook. Frankly, I have a Facebook profile and I couldn't give a damn about my privacy settings on there (I never want to work for someone that takes things I say on a site like Facebook seriously). What I do give a damn about is companies that turn a profit off of data-mining me without my permission (I NEVER requested any of these company's services, why the hell do they have the right to gather a profile on me?)

Anyways, I would much prefer to see legislation regarding issues like mine rather than crap directed at Facebook or Google. Either way, it was a few months back that I went through all of this and I forget the name of the first company I contacted. I think I still have it written on a post-it note at home. I'll try to find it and dig it up to post in a response to this message later.

Re:My Privacy Anecdote (1)

Philomage (1851668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211432)

You've struck upon the primary problem with privacy, the one that allows credit reporting agencies to flourish: they are allowed to exist as an "opt-out" option.

There should be legislation that requires these information gathering and reporting agencies to opt you in before they start gathering anything on you.

My privacy is an externality in their business model.

So that brings me to my biggest complaint: that they make money off of my existence without giving me a cut; I'm a resource they mine at little to no cost to them. Make them require my permission and they might start sharing the profits with the source of their wealth in order to garner that permission.

Your desire for privacy is prudish and doomed (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211098)

All these calls around privacy, protection of user data. They are all going to fall in the end.

That is because the young neither know nor care about privacy. The next generation will grow up in a world where pretty much no-one cares who reads what they post. People here worry all the time about employers freaking out when they see random things you've posted on the internet (hence the attempt at regulations that let you wipe a slate clean) but future employers will not care, because they too will have grown up in a world where privacy didn't really matter, and will simply filter out a persons public persona from the work persona (which is already very different for most people anyway, it's just not as obvious now).

So even if you try to regulate all of this it will not work, because when the people posting care nothing about privacy and the people building things care little about privacy, there is little you can do to stop the flood of privacy-stripping output that results.

As with everything there will be some negative side effects, but the world moves on with most people getting by just fine.

False Path (3, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211174)

I have to hand it to the government on this one. They have completely reframed the idea of "privacy" online and separated it from anonymity. We all know that to have true privacy, you have to have anonymity. That aspect of the debate has already been marginalized and will never be addressed. Instead what we are getting is a regulatory regime that proposes to protect our real identities online. What happens if you do not want to use your real identity? It seems like the path that we are going down is to make it more and more difficult not to.

The battle has been lost. We're already in the aftermath; the laws are now being codified to solidify the decisions that have already been made.

It would be nice to see some push back against the government on this. I'm of the opinion that if they want me to be me online, I want a cryptographically secure authentication mechanism. I want two factor RSA. I don't want a single piece of unsolicited email. Unless I have opted in by signing with my digital key, I don't want to hear one peep from advertisers.

If the government is going to get involved, it better go one of two ways. Either A, let me be anonymous or B, make it so damn burdensome for anyone who I don't want to talk to talk to me that they decide it isn't worth the hassle to initiate communication unless I solicit it.

Cometition (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211480)

There's an old saying "Don't steal, the Government hates competition". I suppose we could extend that to "Don't collect personal information , the Government hates competition".

Just leave rule 34 alone please (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211554)

As long as rule 34 isn't touched, it's all cool.

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