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Government Privacy Politics

Survey Shows Support For New Privacy Laws 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the internet-is-a-series-of-transparent-tubes dept.
GovTechGuy writes "Two-thirds of consumers want the government to safeguard their privacy online and 81 percent want to add their names to a Do Not Track list, according to a May poll released Tuesday by Consumers Union. In addition, over 80 percent of respondents were concerned that companies may be sharing their personal information with third parties without their permission. The survey's release comes just one day before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing where lawmakers will hear testimony on three data privacy bills currently in front of the Senate."
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Survey Shows Support For New Privacy Laws

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  • by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @08:18AM (#36609492)
    How many corporations are behind this? That's the only question that counts.
    • I suspect that, if we can get something that appears to be quite strong; but has critical loopholes, going at the federal level, corporations will be absolutely all over it in order to preclude the possibility that some state might actually grow a spine and pass a real one...
      • by Joce640k (829181)

        I suspect that, if we can get something that appears to be quite strong; but has critical loopholes corporations will be absolutely all over it

        Do you seriously suspect we might get anything else? Telemarketers don't seem too disturbed by do-not-call lists and politicians even put exclusions for "political parties" into that law.

        • Given the close overlap(in both personnel and required skillset) between marketing and campaigning, I'd say that the odds of seeing anything else aren't quite zero, if some idealistic one-termer feels like walking into a bullet; but the odds of passing anything else are nil.
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          To hell with "do not track" and "do not call" lists, I'd like to see legislation that would make tracking and sphone spam opt-in, making it a felony with prison time for sociopathic corporations' CEOs and boards of directors who ignore the law.

          County Market supermarket wants to stalk me, but at least I have to agree to it. Why is it legal for a corporation to stalk me, but a felony for a human being to?

          I got phone spam on my cell phone last week; 20 calls from the same telemarketers (302-394-6964, a telemar

      • I wonder how much the data companies would protest if they were required by law to inform you that they had access to your social security number?

        Actually, no, they'd just shift all that data overseas, where it would be even less secure.

    • by base3 (539820)
      Exactly -- while a mandatory "do not track" seems all well and good, I'm sure that compliance hurdles that shut out small players could be of benefit in certain quarters. That, and without a "Great Firewall of 'Merica," it would be unenforceable because the companies that wanted to track could just use offshore servers.
    • by emaname (1014225)

      You got that right.

    • Every single one of them will be if they get fined massively for violations. That's what laws and regulations are for. I'm sure gas stations don't like regulations preventing them from diluting their gas beyond a certain point, but they don't do it because they all know that the fine for doing so far outweighs the profit gained.

  • Did you know that Osama Bin Laden also wanted to be on the 'Do Not Track' list?

    Much(highly personalized) love,
    -American Advertising Federation
    • Probably not, Because such a list should at least identify you. I find such a list just too stupid for words, because you first have to be identified to be looked up on the list, while I don't want to be identified at all.
  • It seems technically infeasible to maintain such a list, plus how can they keep track of you being on the list?

    I feel like the poll question was 'Do you want a way to prevent keeping track of everything about you and preventing that information to be used fort sending junk mail?

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      how can they keep track of you being on the list?

      Simple: They keep a list of everybody (with full names, email addresses, etc.) and give a copy to anybody who's thinking of violating the privacy laws.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @08:33AM (#36609604) Journal
      We could get totally crazy and trying 'opt-in' rather than 'opt-out'...
      • We could get *really* crazy and have your *browser* stop giving out identifiable information to anyone that asks...

        Is a little personal responsibility too much to ask? After all, it is your browser thats kindly storing these cookies, and kindly giving them out on request. Your browser. Yours. That falls within the scope of something you can do stuff about.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The reality is, infrastructure and systems (like browsers) are pre-built and pre-configured. Our society works because everybody doesn't have to do their own building and configuring - the same way not everyone has to grow their own food. It's a much better, socially-aware option, to push for better builds and configurations rather than to say, "screw it I'm going to roll my own".

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by mcgrew (92797) *

          "Personal responsibility" is NOT dressing in a Burqa to keep from being raped. Personal responsibility is NOT RAPING OTHER PEOPLE. Why are you calling for ME to have "personal responsibility" but not the corporations?

          Cookies have many very good uses, like not having to log into slashdot every time you visit. Stalking people is NOT one of them. And most people (non-slashdotters) wouldn't have a clue how to NOT store cookies. How about making laws keeping the goddamned sociopathic corporations from stalking y

          • by mcgrew (92797)

            LOL. some dimwit modded that "troll". Waste some more mod points, dipshit. Too bad they don't have the old metamoderation, you wouldn't get many more mod points.

            Clicking the "no bonus" buttons even though they don't seem to work...

        • Is a little personal responsibility too much to ask? After all, it is your browser thats kindly storing these cookies, and kindly giving them out on request. Your browser. Yours. That falls within the scope of something you can do stuff about.

          That's only half right. Yes you can control who your browser gives cookies to - I use Cookie Safe Lite [mozilla.org] which is fantasticly easy to use, but keeping it working with each release of firefox is getting harder.

          However, that's just the low-hanging fruit. There are lots of other methods that corporate stalkers use besides cookies, like so-called "browser fingerprinting" techniques that, when combined with your IP address, are just as problematic as cookies but donn't practically fall under the rubric of "pers

        • by metacell (523607)

          We could get *really* crazy and have your *browser* stop giving out identifiable information to anyone that asks...

          It's not that easy, since the browser itself may be identifiable.

          http://panopticlick.eff.org/ [eff.org]

  • ...and 99.999% of people asked if life is sacred, the answer was "yes." (81% followed up to ask "whose life?")

    • No. They just want a choice in who gets to use their information. Is it fair that a company can keep using my information long after I discontinue use of their product?
      • by immakiku (777365)
        I'm not sure your argument is complete. Is it fair that Walmart can keep using the money you paid for Halo long after you stopped playing Halo? Your information is the payment. Though I agree with you: services and companies should be a lot more upfront about what you're paying for their "free" service. I bet not a lot would change (maybe 1% of facebook .5% of google users would stop using the service) but at least people would feel better. And this provides a path to progress: if every service listed the p
        • You bring up a good point. I was thinking of purely service based online products.
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Are you badanalogyguy's new account? Walmart can only use the money I spend ONCE. Once they spend it, it's gone forever.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        No. They just want a choice in who gets to use their information. Is it fair that a company can keep using my information long after I discontinue use of their product?

        I'm less worried about that ... if I actually used your product, and you have my information on file because I gave it to you, I can at least understand how you have it.

        It's the people who I have never had a business dealing with, who have managed to get my information that I have a big problem with. who the hell are you, and why do I care?

  • It's encouraging that this has even made a blip on the public radar, but unfortunately, a public clueless enough to think that a "Do Not Track" list would help the situation is also clueless enough to immediately forget about this issue after seeing the latest high-budget presentation on the mass media about the current political candidates.

  • What percentage of the 81% have given permission when they clicked "Accept" without reading terms and conditions.
  • by retroworks (652802) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @08:35AM (#36609620) Homepage Journal
    I'd volunteer to be put on a list of "false positives", records that I'd bought everything from women's shoes to AC/DC videos. Nature rarely designs invisibility, but camouflage is everywhere. If enough people got on a false positive list, creating false cookies and records and interests, wouldn't that have the same effect as privacy? And wouldn't it be cheaper? Seems like you could even have a program running silently in another browser clicking on interest in new cars, home mortgages, health care, etc. and it would confuse the hell out of the data collectors.
    • by immakiku (777365)
      To be honest with the bandwidth/data plans as abysmal as they are right now in the US, those extra bits seem too steep a price to pay for the effect they provide.
    • Good try, but False Positives are deadly. Reason: you can't deny them!

      "Retroworks is a terrorist! Prove you're not." The whole Security Theater adventure is fueled by false positives.

    • by emaname (1014225)

      That sounds like a great idea to me.

      I have a friend that would consistently give the people at Best Buy, Sears, etc, bogus info re his address, etc. And it's fun trying to be as imaginative as possible like including that a person has just purchased 10 bovine insemination kits or 5 Bradley M2 fighting vehicles.

      This could become a whole new form of social discourse and entertainment.

    • That may have worked in the snail mail age, but in the electronic age, I think you're just setting yourself up to get spammed while not helping anyone. All they'd think is that you have a broad swath of interests, and it doesn't cost them anything more to track them all, since it only exists in a database anyway. Until you have a critical mass of people following your plan, companies would be more than happy to provide you with as much information as you want about your "interests", and you'd be potentially

    • TaoPhoenix and Anubis IV - the idea is that millions of people would do it, not ONLY me. I can deny false positives if they are statistically likely to be false based on hundreds of other people having the same alibi. And if millions of people get additional "junk mail" that would hurt the issuer. I think at some critical mass it would work.
      • by metacell (523607)

        A significant portion of the world's Internet users would need to spend time creating false positives list for it to work, since a few false positives doesn't affect those who intrude on our privacy. It's also possible they'd quickly learn to see the difference between "genuine" Internet behaviour and when someone tries to obfuscate.

  • "Two-thirds of consumers want the government to safeguard their privacy..." In other news, two-thirds of consumers don't mind if the government tracks them, as long as evil corporations don't.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Two-thirds of consumers want the government to safeguard their privacy..."

      In other news, two-thirds of consumers don't mind if the government tracks them, as long as evil corporations don't.

      I'm sure the Government is more than happy to oblige in helping protect the consumer from "the big bad Corporations" all the while slowly raping us of our own freedoms. Government to the rescue, yay! While this a nice and noble gesture, how far will this extend, come on. I think we know that Government and big business have been in bed for awhile now. Even if it does get passed, there will always be loopholes.

      Besides, I wonder how many of these people that worry about being tracked are "liking" every group

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      Well really....its more like they don't understand how the whole thing works, they like how the "do not call" list works, and think that they want the same here... because they don't realize what the real technical differences that make it impossible to really work are.

      Bottom line though, they want to not be tracked.

  • Instead of setting up the rules such that I have to opt out of every stupid scheme someone sets up, reverse the situation such that I must opt in if I feel there is benefit.

    Oh yeah, that makes far too much sense.
  • How are they going to implement this scheme.? Put everyone's name and information on a list then distribute it to Internet companies?

    People will have to identify themselves first for this thing to work which defeats the purpose.

  • The level of tracking that advertisements and such take isn't really personally identifiable information -- they don't try to take your identity but more keep tabs on what other websites you've visited that have ads. If a company collects data from you, it should be, at the very least, for some sort of technical purpose like showing relevant ads based on the "Likes" you have on facebook.

    That said, I wouldn't want anyone selling this kind of information to data miners for the pure purpose of stalking your o

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      That said, I wouldn't want anyone selling this kind of information to data miners for the pure purpose of stalking your online life. What's the point of privacy settings if they're just going ignore it and sell all your data to any company that shows up on the front door with cash? And, if they were to sell it after you gave them permission to, you should also be notified when and to whom your information was sold to.

      The obvious answer - to get you to give up that information to begin with!

      Facebook knows th

  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @11:54AM (#36611908)

    You can get a survey to get any result - Check a href="http://users.aims.ac.za/~mackay/probability/survey.html"

    If your survey question is "Do you support Privacy Laws" - the answer will be Yes. "Do you want the Govt to prevent terrorism or protect the children" - the answer will again be Yes.

  • If we make having my personal information illegal, only outlaws will have my personal information. Wait a minute...
  • So I would be giving my personal information to the government so that I could have more privacy? Like the government doesn't know enough about me already.
  • be added to the NSA's "What are you hiding?" surveillance list.
  • The easiest way to legally protect your personal info is to get congress to pass a law to make personally identifiable info joint property between the the person who is identified and the collector of the info.

    Then, the holder of personal info will need your explicit consent in order to legally sell your info. You would need to voluntarily sell your ownership interest in the info to loose legal control of it. All of the normal property laws would take effect.

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