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Obama May Toughen Internet Privacy Rules 222

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-2010-and-we're-still-debating-it dept.
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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Obama May Toughen Internet Privacy Rules

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  • Bias? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by imamac (1083405) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:09PM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:19PM (#34210420) Homepage

      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:33PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Biggseye (1520195)
      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...
      • by pulse2600 (625694)

        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...

        Oh please please please MOD THIS UP My kingdom for some mod points!!!!

    • by geekoid (135745)

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

      |

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Doc Ruby (173196)

      You Republicans want to fill the government with the most biased, incompetent, anti-privacy corporatists possible, then whine about bias when people tell the truth about them.

      Elections have consequences. You Republicans voting control of the House to Boehner will have consequences that attack your privacy like never before. Evidently starting with the lies about "fair and balanced".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Antisyzygy (1495469)
        Stop being a partisan twat. Democrats did nothing to combat the deficit nor have they even succeeded in a decent health care bill. I don't think Americans had it in mind to be penalized with a fine if they choose not to have insurance. Universal health care is AOK in my book, but enforced health insurance to corrupt shithole corporations is ridiculous. Republicans haven't done shit either, and even started the deficit with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its time to stop swearing loyalty to either party, a
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Doc Ruby (173196)

          I didn't say anything partisan. What I said was merely a correction of an actual partisan twat. Attacking Republicans on the facts when a Republican spews BS is not partisan, unless "the truth" is a party.

          In that spirit, here's the truth about the BS you just spewed about the Democrats: Obama and the Democrats reduced the deficit [yahoo.com] by 9% from Bush's devastation, while reducing taxes on 95% of Americans during the recession Bush caused, even as they rescued the economy from that devastating recession. Republic

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I've seen no evidence that obama cares about privacy. At every opportunity to vote for/against loss of rights/privacy he has consistently voted for taking it away. He's also consistently said the opposite in public. Therefore any claims he's about to increase internet privacy probably means he's taking away more privacy, probably through a massive (secret) government monitoring program.
    • by Barrinmw (1791848)
      The real big question is how are we supposed to expect online privacy when its the government itself that is trying to take it away. So long as my IP is tied to me instead of my internet connection, there will be no privacy.
  • Okay. I think I'm done. I'm going to terminate my traffic, all of it, via VPN in some other country.

  • I call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:12PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:39PM (#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.

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Well, it can be partisanship because of ideological reasoning. In other words, Obama set in the stimulus a tax rebate and automatically said that the republicans would support it. When they didn't, he blamed it on them being partisan. But the reality of it was that the rebate wasn't supported because it didn't do anything economical sound in the short term, and being a single rebate meant it wouldn't be around long enough to have an impact in the long term. We figured this out with Bush and his retroactive

    • by brkello (642429)

      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.

    • by geekoid (135745)

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

      • by osgeek (239988)

        You should examine your recollections for signs of bias, then.

        During the first half of W. Bush's presidency, I seem to recall a lot of brouhaha over the then minority Democrat's use of the filibuster and other Senate rules to stall the debate and appointment of Bush's judicial nominees.

        It's pretty standard practice in American politics for the minority (one part of congress vs the other and the Presidency is still a minority) to oppose the will of the governing party in order to make it look bad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bonch (38532)

      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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by joeboomer628 (869162)
      Why is this political, US laws cannot be enforced everywhere there is internet. This just shows how little politicians understand what the internet is.
  • by tylerni7 (944579) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:13PM (#34210348) Homepage
    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...
  • No he won't (Score:2, Insightful)

    He might try, but the republicans will block it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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.
      • 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.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      That should be "He might try, BECUASE the republicans will block it.
  • Saved... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cobrausn (1915176) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:24PM (#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.

    • by mmaniaci (1200061)

      Corporations have only shareholders to answer to, and shareholders are only concerned about profits.

      Governments have the people to answer to.

      I choose government control of my communication any day.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:38PM (#34210610) Homepage
    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.
    • What's needed is a constitutional amendment explicitly delivering privacy rights. Anything less will always allow the politicians the means to circumvent protections.

  • by SirAstral (1349985) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:38PM (#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!

    • by brkello (642429) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:33PM (#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.

    • 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!

      Precisely. However, the notion of "government as savior" and "hope" seem to be rather common delusions among those who support the policies of the Obama administration. Wake up people, the government isn't your friend and it certainly isn't looking out for your best interests. The United States Federal Government looks after the interests of the highest bidders in the last election (which probably doesn't include you). If you care about individual liberty and personal choice then only rational conclusion is

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:38PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by noidentity (188756)
      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 doin

      • by vux984 (928602)

        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.

        Except you've expressly giving your ISP permission to do that. And as you observed its an essential part of providing YOU the service YOU are paying them to provide you.

        Google driving around collecting that information is entirely different.

        As I understand it, Google was collecting inform

        • Your post is fairly convincing, but can you come up with an example that doesn't involve entering private property to install a camera in one of the most private rooms of a house? Google received unencrypted data from radio waves, so your example would better be someone installing a camera in their car and driving down streets taking photos of every house, even though it was just to count the number of houses.
          • by vux984 (928602)

            but can you come up with an example that doesn't involve entering private property to install a camera in one of the most private rooms of a house?

            Actually, in my head writing it I was envisioning a public washroom; with the flush monitoring being set up by the maintenance engineers.

            Google received unencrypted data from radio waves, so your example would better be someone installing a camera in their car and driving down streets taking photos of every house, even though it was just to count the number of ho

    • by Vainglorious Coward (267452) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:36PM (#34211162) Journal
      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.
      • 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

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vux984 (928602)

          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."

          • Google did not connect to their wifi. These people were transmitting EM signals which passed through Google's antenna and Google recorded them. They weren't transmitting through wires like on a phone, and they weren't encrypted in any way. They were using a standard encoding, like all unencrypted wifi.

            It's not like opening a door at all, and representing it with that analogy is overtly misleading. They made no "positive action." A better comparison is overhearing a conversation in a language you know. You d

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by vux984 (928602)

              They made no "positive action.

              Google both decoded and recorded the signals. Those are both positive actions.

              A better comparison is overhearing a conversation in a language you know.

              Only if you "overheard" it using a radio scanner, and then recorded it, and then surprise, surprise it would be illegal for you to do that.

              There is a fundamental difference between overhearing a conversation at the next table, and "overhearing" it via a radio scanner and recording it.

              It's like you walked out in the street and ann

              • See, I knew we agreed. It always comes down to a question of semantics.

                I would define using your ears to hear something as equivalent to using a radio to hear it. Just because we happen to be born with ears instead of radios doesn't make the information any more secure. By basing our laws off of how humans are born, we are in many ways making them very short sited, as the emergence of new legal conflicts since the advent of the internet has demonstrated. Old laws for old systems are unfit when the system ch

                • by vux984 (928602)

                  See, I knew we agreed. It always comes down to a question of semantics.

                  In that we disagree on the definition of 'plain view', yes, that seems to be the contention.

                  This is why the distinction between "signals that leave your home unencrypted" and "signals that are encrypted/don't leave your home" is a farther reaching definition here.

                  It is, I think, a VERY poor place to put the distinction.

                  It won't be long before someone releases a "firesheep" tool to get people's credit card numbers or naughty emails just

                  • by hawguy (1600213)

                    What happens when a firesheep comes out that can capture/intercept/decode the em from a wireless keyboard from outside one's home? That technology already exists. Should using a wireless keyboard be carteblanch for people to record your activities? I think not.

                    Yes, it should be, because if it's not, the bad guys will still do it and still capture the data. All that would be accomplished by making it illegal would be to prevent the good guys from demonstrating how easy it is to steal your data.

                    If there's some false assumption that no one will intercept my wireless data because it's "illegal", then there will be no demand from consumers for manufacturers to encrypt that data.

                    Enforcing security by making it illegal to listen is worse than security through obscurity.

                    • by vux984 (928602)

                      Yes, it should be, because if it's not, the bad guys will still do it and still capture the data. All that would be accomplished by making it illegal would be to prevent the good guys from demonstrating how easy it is to steal your data.

                      By that logic we should legalize people breaking car windows and stealing car stereos because its pretty easy, and the only thing we accomplish by making it illegal is that it prevents the good guys from demonstrating how easy it is to steal your car stereo.

                      That is ridiculou

                    • by hawguy (1600213)

                      By that logic we should legalize people breaking car windows and stealing car stereos because its pretty easy, and the only thing we accomplish by making it illegal is that it prevents the good guys from demonstrating how easy it is to steal your car stereo.

                      Wow, we've traveled pretty far down that slippery slope -- stealing a stereo is quite a bit different than sitting outside with my computer listening to your unencrypted Wifi signals. (or your wireless keyboard, or shouting out the window, or whatever else you choose to transmit outside of your walls).

                      The technology exists to listen to conversations through walls. At some point we just need to say that its illegal to use that to invade people's privacy. Or do you plan to require that people encrypt their conversations.

                      I have no problem with making laser eavesdropping equipment illegal - you should have an expectation to privacy within your home. Though if your fear is the government, they already have such equipment.

                      Depends what you are trying to address. I'm honestly not all that worried about criminals at this point. The threat right now is coming from government and major corporations. And making it illegal does effectively curb their behavior.

                      Then i

                  • by mmaniaci (1200061)

                    Our ears are a type listening technology. Our mouths and vocal chords make up the human speaker system. Our eyes are but cameras capturing data and relaying it on to our brains. What I can sense with my ears I can sense with a microphone, and vice versa. Why is it that when I sense it with a microphone I'm all of the sudden a criminal? Perhaps this argument needs another point: intent.

                    Laws should not be made against a specific action because any action can be justified regardless of it's legality. Murder is

                    • by vux984 (928602)

                      Our ears are a type listening technology. Our mouths and vocal chords make up the human speaker system. Our eyes are but cameras capturing data and relaying it on to our brains.

                      -sigh-

                      In this context your eyes are not technology. They did not come about through the application of knowledge or invention. They are not tools as they were not crafted. They are not technology, by the simple definition of technology.

                      They are natural.

                      The things that they can see naturally are the things in plain sight. Its really t

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  Nice little discussion you're having, but all your analogies miss the point completely. I don't know how you got on this "plain view" furrow, but it has no relevance. The simple fact is that personal information - recorded information that uniquely identifies an individual - has special status. It's special. The law says so. The legislation governs, among other things, how such data is collected and how it is used. Whether or not it is in "plain view" is neither here nor there. Google completely igno

                  • by mmaniaci (1200061)

                    You're the one missing the point. The law is ludicrous because of the simple "yelling my credit card number at the top of my lungs and suing those who heard me" analogy. Routers broadcasting unencrypted data is exactly "yelling at the top of your lungs." Its up to you to make sure your data is secure, not the government.

        • You have your view of the law and the Canadian Privacy Commissioner has hers - I know which one I believe is the more sound. The mere fact that you write of "suing" in your inappropriate analogy shows how little you understand of how the legislation works.

          Neither Canada nor the EU are responsible for the ridiculous situation where the US alone among industrialised nations lacks proper privacy legislation. Being ignorant of these matters is no excuse, for either you or google.

      • I wouldn't call it flagrant violation. I would call it negligent violation. There is a difference.
      • by mmaniaci (1200061)

        How is your data private if you are publicly broadcasting it for anyone and everyone to see? My name is personal data, but if I tell it to someone and another person overhears it, I wouldn't accuse that person of wrongdoing... that would be foolish. What is the difference with wireless networking? Nobody broke into your house and destroyed your property. You GAVE them access by not securing your network. Thats why they call encrypted wifi "private" and non-encrypted wifi "public."

  • 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?

  • My Privacy Anecdote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:19PM (#34211012) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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.

      Was this a collision that actually happened, or false data? (I can take your story either way.)

      If the "information" about us is false, then I'm not sure it's so much a privacy violation, but rather libel/slander.

    • You might want to try OptOutPrescreen [wikipedia.org] (the link to the external site is in the wiki article: http://www.optoutprescreen.com [optoutprescreen.com]). It's a joint venture between Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion that allows you to opt out of pre-screened credit card and insurance offers for a period of 5 years or, if you wish, permanently. That alone will slash the risk of identity theft substantially. Of course, you will no longer receive credit offers in the mail but most Americans need another credit card like they ne
  • 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 gr

  • False Path (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dave562 (969951) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:38PM (#34211174) Journal

    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.

    • If you are serious about protecting your privacy, both online and offline, then it is best to take matters into your own hands and learn the sorts of tradecraft [wikipedia.org] techniques which are common to the intelligence community. There are many publicly accessible books and articles (of varying quality) on this and other relevant topics; finding them is left as an exercise for the reader. However, a good starting point is this exchange from the film Ronin [imdb.com].

      Sam: Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That's

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

  • First, this is not about the Internet. It's about the American way of using it.

    In other (Western) countries I could write things like "you are completely incompetent", but I can' t write "someone should drive by your house and teach you a lesson".
    In the US I can write "Dr. Joe performs abortion and lives in 400 Main. To bad, if something would happen to him" but I can' t write something, some company's lawyer won' t like (well, I can if I have the money).

    In other countries, companies are limited by law

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