Speaking at the Federal Trade Commission's roundtable discussion about online privacy, Fred Cate, director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington, called privacy policies "an unmitigated disaster."
More than 10 years ago, DoubleClick's plan to acquire Abacus and marry online cookie-based data to offline data set off a privacy furor that resulted in congressional hearings, litigation and an FTC investigation. The pressure grew so intense that DoubleClick had to retreat from its plan and promise that it would keep online and offline data separate. In the last year, however, several data brokers have announced plans to mesh offline and online information without attracting anywhere near that sort of scrutiny.
In a move cheered by some consumer advocates, the Federal Communications Commission is calling for plans to foster competition among Internet service providers as part of its new national broadband plan.
Facing a consumer class-action privacy lawsuit and a Federal Trade Commission inquiry, Netflix is dropping its ill-conceived plan to release data about consumers as part of a new contest to improve its recommendation engine.
The fast-growing Chatroulette has been hailed as the next viral sensation. But the site, which enables users to video chat with strangers, also could become a poster child for the end of online anonymity.
In conversations about online privacy, industry executives and consumer advocates often appear to agree that companies should provide more protection for so-called sensitive data than other types of information. But now, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, long a champion of users' privacy, is questioning whether it makes sense to craft different privacy rules for sensitive information and other types of data.
Broadband in the U.S. already costs more than in many other countries. And it's about to get even more expensive. The country's largest cable provider, Comcast, plans to raise rates for customers in the New Jersey area starting next month.
Evidence is mounting that the Federal Trade Commission is gearing up to take action against Web companies -- especially social networking services -- that play fast-and-loose with users' privacy.
Google was hit this week with a second potential class-action lawsuit over its new Buzz social networking service. This case was filed in federal district court in Rhode Island on behalf of Cranston resident Adranik Souvalian. Like other Gmail users to find fault with Buzz, Souvalian alleges that Google shouldn't have publicized his contacts without first obtaining his consent.
Setting the stage for a Federal Trade Commission crackdown on companies that violate Web users' privacy, the Senate last night confirmed two new commissioners -- Julie Brill and Edith Ramirez. Brill, who previously worked for the North Carolina Department of Justice and the Vermont Attorney General's office, has a track record of supporting privacy laws.