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Obama May Toughen Internet Privacy Rules 222

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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  • Re:Bias? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:24PM (#34210472) Homepage

    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 []. Five seconds on Google will net you a large number of hits.

  • by SirAstral ( 1349985 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:38PM (#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 ickleberry ( 864871 ) <> on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:43PM (#34210656) Homepage
    But not India, Britain or some of the more authoritarian yet surprisingly first world countries out there, because they all demand access to encrypted traffic.
  • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:51PM (#34210728)
    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 doing the sifting later avoided them missing something important, due to a software bug or something. It's like the way you use a digital camera: take lots of pictures, and pick out the good ones later, rather than be picky when taking and possibly miss an important shot.

    Hell, when I walk down a street, the WiFi signals hitting my body probably leave some kind of signature in my molecules, perhaps moving them a bit, or changing their temperature slightly. Perhaps there's some way of extracting that information and OMG determining the data that was being transmitted as I walked past. Am I violating their privacy too? The question is whether I actually tried to extract said data. Did Google try to make use of this packet data it collected, or was it merely part of the noise they had to filter out later?

  • Re:Bias? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @05:17PM (#34210988) Homepage

    All righty then...taken directly from the article you just linked:

    The Army announced its decision yesterday only hours after the Justice Department said it will pursue a lawsuit accusing the Houston-based company of taking kickbacks from two subcontractors on Iraq-related work. The Army also awarded the work to KBR over objections from members of Congress, who have pushed the Pentagon to seek bids for further logistics contracts.

    The Justice Department said the government will join a suit filed by whistleblowers alleging that two freight-forwarding firms gave KBR transportation department employees kickbacks in the form of meals, drinks, sports tickets and golf outings.

    "Defense contractors cannot take advantage of the ongoing war effort by accepting unlawful kickbacks," Assistant Attorney General Tony West said in a statement.

    Care to try again?

  • Re:I call (Score:3, Informative)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:18PM (#34211526)

    In fact, Slashdot just posted a story about the right-leaning NLPC writing to the House Oversight Committee [] 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 amusing that in one article, Republicans trying to investigate a privacy breach were called biased, while in the next, Republicans are considered too biased to institute any privacy rules. Though, to be fair, the summary in this case may not have been implying that so much as just remarking about the general opposition Obama will be facing from an opposing party.

  • by Vainglorious Coward ( 267452 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:16PM (#34212994) Journal

    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 ignored the law regarding collection of data.

    I understand how all this legislated information privacy is terra incognita for you, but these are not my opinions, they are those of the Canadian Privacy commissioner. You should check out her website.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton