Comments on: Privacy regulation and the “free” Internet Where media and technology meet Wed, 16 Nov 2016 08:48:25 +0000 hourly 1 By: Art_In_Seattle Tue, 28 Dec 2010 17:56:35 +0000 The folks who conjured up the World Wide Web, back when the Internet was still largely a tool for academic research paid for by the Pentagon, with a mind to its becoming a self-supporting entity. The first Web browsers had the capacity to store “cookies” specifically to track “visits” for follow-up sales efforts, and to facilitate secure log-ins and money transactions. Absent that, you surely wouldn’t be reading this.

What’s caused all the trouble is that there are those in the Internet “business” who aren’t willing to play nice. They in turn get helped by greedy ad-placement services who don’t care if they’re showing you a “click-through” banner that plants a Trojan on your computer, so long as they got paid for it. The problem is compounded by the inherent insecurity of the great majority of computers in use (thanks a lot, Microsoft!) and the extreme reluctance of the entities who profit from “the Internet” to spend a dime fixing the essential problems as long as they accrue more profit by offering the public more glitzy whiz-bangs instead.

By: SuzyQPA2010 Tue, 28 Dec 2010 14:48:48 +0000 This is the first intelligent article i’ve read on the issue. Allowing excessive government control and regulation of the Internet in order to protect privacy isn’t going to be effective and is going to silence free speech and undermine the whole purpose of the interent – free sharing of thoughts and ideas.
We already have and can tighten laws to protect the public from sexual predators etc…
People have the choice of participating and sharing their information online or not…when they choose to *share* they shouldn’t complain about privacy.
Everyone knows the internet is a PUBLIC DOMAIN.
It’s like shouting it out on the street…whoever hears it hears it.

By: stefanbund Sun, 26 Dec 2010 23:04:26 +0000 This blog responsibly reflects on the conundrum we face as online publishers. Though we would like to charge the public for things like email, video and social networking, the precedent for free binds all of us; the public is very much accustomed to receiving our wares for free. We have worked over the past decade to make it possible to offer free services to the public, and we have created systems that enable us to deliver advertisign that is valid and demographically sensitive to each visitor. This requires to leaving cookies on internet browsers, collecting web addresses visited by users, then returning this list of URLs back to ad networks, each of whom must calculate the most relevant ad for each visitor. This takes place almost-instantly, and results in better-quality marketing on each website. If the government enables the public to opt-out, they will gradually move the internet to a place where free-content providers must collect dramatically more information about each user overtly, such as is done in facebook, then ask for a dramatic reinvention of the way free content is delivered. This will cause a shake-out of all internet properties that cannot collect information in a uniform way, and enable only a few properties to remain. Facebook and a handful of others who maintain their own advertising networks will survive, and take over the entire realm of free services, causing the internet to capitulate into a small number of content aggregators. Only journalism will disappear, and all social networking beyond facebook as well. YouTube will also become regulated, and lose profitability. Hulu will survive, as it already collects fees from the same advertisers who monetize network television.

The US FTC could turn this moment into an important victory for privacy activists by strengthening penalties for the misuse of individually-identifying information for sites like facebook, who loosely safeguard the individually identifying information of each user. This business has wrongly been allowed to give away important personal information about its users, while online ad networks, who anonymously collect non-personal information, are targeted.

It is good government to investigate further into this issue, but the public should continue to receive free content of high-quality that is continuously improving, especially in the realm of information and services that assist everyday users to improve their lives. When only a small number of sites can survice the FTC’s regulation, the vast wealth of online content is quickly decimated in favor of the mediocre offerings of sites like Facebook.

By: jeffchester Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:39:49 +0000 Online marketers have deliberately created a consumer privacy nightmare by transforming the Internet into a data collection digital octopus. Consumers want to be treated fairly–and not subject to being secretly followed, profiled and targeted wherever they go online–including on their PC and mobile phone. Mr. Thierer ignores how online marketers and publishers have stealthily developed more ways to collect information from us–what we spend, where we go, our race or ethnicity, health and financial concerns, say on social networks, and what our children do online. He offers the public a false choice: it’s not about killing the golden goose of advertising online. A individual consumer should decide what data can be collected by marketers, including the scores of online data “third-parties” who buy and sell our information. With consumers back in control of their information, they can vote with their dollars and data about which online sites they trust. Those online publishers will thrive.

By: CapitalistBagel Fri, 24 Dec 2010 09:21:28 +0000 I agree completely. If you don’t want to be tracked there are tools to prevent it, but the vast majority of the time, it doesn’t really matter that much. Nothing about my actual privacy is compromised if Google knows what news sites I visit.

I worry more about the information I knowingly give to websites. I’ve spent the past couple weeks changing my passwords on numerous websites and forums thanks to Gawker Media’s poor security.