Watchable Kathy Posner

The Chicago Tribune published an editorial recently in opposition of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed “Do Not Track” plan that, “would allow Internet users to reject all forms of tracking through a single setting on their Web browsers. “ I am in favor of the plan because I want to be left alone.

It is ironic that the Tribune is in favor of the National “Do Not Call” Registry but is in opposition to the “Do Not Track,” because I find Internet tracking to be more personally invasive than the phone calls!

The Tribune does admit that, “As it stands, tracking is routine, unfettered and a little scary. Advertisers can collect and share information about the searches conducted by any particular individual, the Web sites visited and the content viewed. They can analyze content on social-media pages, the groceries bought via store loyalty-card programs or a person's precise whereabouts through location-enabled smart phones. Then they can share and compile the data to form personal profiles so detailed that many consumers would find it troubling." But they attempt to justify the intrusion by writing, “Yet tracking comes with benefits. It makes search results more useful and precise.”

I am registered on “Do Not Call” but because charities, politicians and companies I currently do business with are exempt, I still receive many solicitation calls. But I can choose not to answer the phone when I see a toll-free number pop up. Also, the caller has no idea of who else has called me and who I have called in the past. With Internet tracking, a company can ascertain incredibly personal information about me and not even have to produce a search warrant!

If a rogue organization like WikiLeaks can obtain classified State Department information which is distributed on a dozen or more networks that connect agency employees around the world, think what a multi-billion dollar corporation could buy access to!

While Microsoft Corp. said it will add privacy-control features to its Internet Explorer browser that would enable users to create lists of web sites they forbid from tracking them, the work involved by the consumer would take years to complete. There are millions of web sites. How would an Internet user be able to block them one at a time? At least with “Do Not Call,” a person can enter their own phone number and refuse access to it. The Microsoft plan would be the equivalent of a person having to enter every phone number combination in the world, one by one, to block that number from calling them. Impossible!

Please support the FTC in their plan to block access, otherwise every researcher in the world will know who is researching embarrassing topics like erectile dysfunction or breast augmentation!

Editors Note: This is the way the world is going. We are losing our freedom and privacy every single day, and the government keeps letting the huge corporations get away with it, in fact the government is too. Seems like there is nothing you can do. The fines are so small for these huge companies, that it is a cost they are willing to pay to invade our privacy. The only answer is to make the fines so huge, they will not act in a manner that invades your privacy. I would not count on the FTC doing anything that protects us. Look what their sister agency the FCC did with net neutrality. Net Neutrality was supposed to keep the web free. It was supposed to keep the web on a even basis so anyone could have the same chance as the big corporations. They left so many loopholes in the new laws, that the big companies will soon be taking over the web, leaving the little guy at their mercy. You can read more on this topic here.....

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