Online privacy issues
Consumer Watchdog, a group that has been a sharp critic of Google 's privacy practices in the past, is at it once again.The Santa Monica, Calif.-based consumer advocacy group has taken out an ad on a 540-square-foot Jumbotron digital display in New York's Time Square, which it is using to promote an animated video on YouTube that depicts Google CEO Eric Schmidt as an ice cream truck driver secretly spying on children. Slideshow: Visiting the GoogleplexThe 15-second plug is scheduled to air 36 times a day through Oct. 15 and is designed to highlight Google's "tone-deafness to privacy," said John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog.The video, titled "Don't Be Evil?" was spurred by what the group claims is Google's disregard for privacy issues as evidenced by its collection of personal data through its Street View cars and its decision to make private Gmail contacts publicly available on its social networking application Buzz .By satirizing Schmidt in one of the busiest public squares … [Read more...] about Consumer Group Lampoons Google CEO Over Privacy Issues
Two high-profile U.S. senators have introduced legislation designed to give consumers more control over what information about them is collected online, but privacy advocates said the bill will do little to curb wide-spread data-collection practices now in place.Senators John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican, introduced the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act Tuesday. The bill would require Web-based businesses that collect consumer information to give clear notice about the data collection and allow consumers to opt out.The bill would require Web-based businesses to collect only as much information as necessary to complete a transaction or deliver a service, and it would require collectors to take security measures to protect the data."John and I start with a bedrock belief that protecting Americans' personal, private information is vital to making the Information Age everything it should be," Kerry said in a statement. "Americans have a right … [Read more...] about Kerry, McCain Introduced Online Privacy Bill
The increased monitoring and profiling of Internet users by companies such as Google and its DoubleClick online advertising subsidiary is widely seen as one of the biggest threats to online privacy. But in reality, said university professor Paul Ohm, the potential for the same kind of activities by ISPs poses a much greater privacy risk.Ohm, an associate professor of law at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder, published a research paper titled "The Rise and Fall of Invasive ISP Surveillance" late last month. The 77-page document chronicles the different market pressures and technology advances that are shaping the behavior of ISPs and warns of "a coming storm of unprecedented and invasive" surveillance of users by such companies. [ Learn how to secure your systems with Roger Grimes' Security Adviser blog and , both from InfoWorld. ]It isn't an opinion that is shared by everyone, but the issue has been getting an increasing amount of attention from privacy advocates and … [Read more...] about Do ISPs pose a bigger online privacy threat than Google?
While representatives of the online advertising industry questioned whether new laws are needed to protect consumer privacy online, several U.S. lawmakers on Thursday called for new regulations targeting online tracking.Members of the commerce subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee were split on whether Congress should pass new privacy legislation, including regulations limiting online tracking by websites and advertising networks.New legislation isn't needed because online advertising groups have created their own sets of rules that allow Web users to opt out of targeted advertising based on surfing habits, said Linda Woolley, executive vice president of the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group representing online advertisers. Online companies can do a better job of protecting consumer privacy than the government can, she said during a subcommittee hearing on consumer attitudes about online privacy.The Digital Advertising Alliance, a … [Read more...] about Lawmakers Disagree on Need for Online Privacy Legislation
Alarmed that the varied and often murky ways that Internet businesses collect, use and share information about consumers' online activities, the White House today issued a blueprint for strengthening online privacy, including a so-called consumer bill of rights and commitments from leading industry players to adhere to a set of best practices, including a do-not-track tool embedded within the major Web browsers."American consumers can't wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "As the Internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy."Along with the White House's privacy framework, the Digital Advertising Alliance, a coalition of several of the leading marketing and advertising trade associations, announced that it will begin evaluating browser-based tools to enable consumers to stipulate their privacy preferences, which would apply across … [Read more...] about Obama Backs ‘Consumer Bill of Rights’ for Online Privacy
A California state court has dismissed a closely watched lawsuit charging that Delta Air Lines failed to comply with state privacy laws for mobile applications.In a brief ruling last week, California Superior Court Judge Marla Miller agreed with Delta's claim that the federal Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) of 1978 supersedes state statutes.The ADA prevents states from enforcing laws that could impact the prices, routes or services offered by an airline.Delta argued that its mobile application was a service offered by the airline to customers and was therefore was covered by the ADA.In an email, Delta spokesman Paul Skrbec said that the airline is "pleased the Court has confirmed our view that the California statute does not apply to airlines because it is preempted by federal law. The protection of customer information is something that Delta takes very seriously."The court's action effectively ends the first lawsuit alleging that a company failed to adhere to a state's privacy laws … [Read more...] about First California lawsuit over mobile privacy issues crashes
Everybody who spends much time on the web knows their activities are tracked for marketing purposes. Do a little online shopping for hats, and you will quickly see ads for hats popping up on other websites you visit.[Hack of major data brokers weakens bank authentication]But, the collection of individual data by so-called Big Data brokers goes well beyond your online shopping. Those companies -- there were 253 of them as of this past March, according to a directory compiled by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse -- collect and sell information to marketers on everything from your marital status, whether you might be pregnant or have a newborn, have cancer, are trying to lose weight, are gay or straight, how much you make, what credit cards you use, your lines of credit, where you live, what your house cost, what kind of car you drive or if you might be looking to buy a new one, your race, occupation, political leanings, education level, have one or more children in college, have pets to … [Read more...] about Data Brokers’ Collection of Internet Activity Data Raises Privacy Issues