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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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  • Bias? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by imamac ( 1083405 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:09PM (#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.

  • by SteelRat ( 11640 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:10PM (#34210324) Homepage

    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 @04:12PM (#34210340)


    "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.

  • No he won't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves ( 236787 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:17PM (#34210400)

    He might try, but the republicans will block it.

  • Re:Bias? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:19PM (#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:No he won't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:22PM (#34210450)
    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.
  • Saved... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cobrausn ( 1915176 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:24PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:26PM (#34210486)

    Then allow the consumer to decide what to do about the problem themselves.

    Most consumers will do nothing. Educating them will do nothing except waste money. All that will happen is the consumers who do end up losing everything will complain because the government didn't do more to prevent it. They'll complain and get some politician needing an issue to promote to force a half-assed plan into place. Its better to at least attempt a rational level-headed method than something done as a rushed response to a sudden public outcry.

    I'm sure the government will do something sensible like require all internet traffic to be encrypted. To make things easier they'll even give you your own personal set of keys to use. Dont worry if you ever lose your keys because they'll keep a set for you.

  • by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:29PM (#34210530)
    The only solution to have privacy is to do nothing on the internet or transact business of any sort.

    That's impossible now. In order to get a job you have to apply on the internet - many times with third party companies that have their own multi-page legalese filled "Terms of Service" that has the "we reserve the right to change these terms at anytime" bullshit clause.

    My credit union uses a third party for many of their back office and web services.

    Many companies spread your personal information all over the World without your consent - the credit bureaus, insurance companies, banks, and just about any firm that handles your most private data. They share data with credit bureaus, other companies that collect data, Governments, etc...

    Aside from living under a rock, living "off the grid" and doing business with no one, there's no way for the consumer to control their personal information - none.

    I have been doing my best and yet, just googling myself, it sickens me how much personal information is out there - current information.

  • Re:Bias? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:29PM (#34210532) Homepage

    republicans have different opinions than democrats

    In the current climate, it would be more likely that regardless of opinions there will be no bill in congress that will have support from both democrats and republicans.

  • Re:Bias? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:33PM (#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.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:38PM (#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:I call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:39PM (#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 Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:54PM (#34210766) Homepage

    Warning: unpopular opinion ahead.

    As far as advertising is concerned, I'm actually GLAD that companies are "invading my privacy" in an attempt to display ads to me that are relevant to my interests. I don't give a crap about tampons, or Roth I.R.As, or some new Genital Wart drug. However, I DO care about AMDs latest processor, or some new Asus laptop, or a special deal going on with digital cameras.

    Advertising is going to happen, no matter what you do. Yes, I know, I know...adblock and noscript. Still, regardless, advertising will reach you at some point in your day-to-day life. I would MUCH rather it be for something I care about. /rant

  • Re:Bias? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Biggseye ( 1520195 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:56PM (#34210786)
    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 brkello ( 642429 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @05:33PM (#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.

  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:10PM (#34211456) Journal

    Will we never learn that the only way to have real governance is to have governance without politicians? []

    Yes, let's all welcome the tyranny of the majority.

    And while we're at it, the tyranny of the uninformed.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:30PM (#34211610)

    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."

    Do you walk down the street seeing and/or hearing wifi transmissions? Of course not. Its not "plainly visible".

    They needed to actually connect to the wifi. Its the equivalent of opening a door. Sure its not locked or secured in anyway, but you still had to make a positive action to get "inside". And then once inside, they started recording everything.

    Out of curiosity, If the occupant uses an older analog cordless phone (without encryption) do you figure you should be allowed to record all their phone calls too?

    Note that this would be considered an illegal phone tap in most jurisdictions. Is that ridiculous too? What is the difference?

  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:38PM (#34211666) Journal

    Being given a direct line-of-sight into our legislative process is rad as hell

    Ecept we're not really given a direct line-of-site into the legislative process. We're being given a direct line-of-sight into the dog-and-pony show that masquerades as our legislative process.

    The real workings of the legislature happen behind closed doors, on K street and other places where the legislation is actually hammered out.

    What we can watch on C-Span is largely circus.

  • Re:agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:41PM (#34211692)

    The 2 parties have primary goals is to oppose whatever the other proposes...except for going to war !

    I believe "pretend terrorists are attacking us because of envy of our 'freedom' rather than our foreign policy, and pretend that we can stop them by sacrificing your rights" is the other movement with broad bipartisan support (bipartisan among the elected, that is).

  • Re:Bias? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:42PM (#34211702) Homepage Journal

    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".

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @07:09PM (#34211874)

    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 announced everything you're doing

    It is nothing like that at all. You might feel its the "technological equivalent" but the fact that its technological makes it different.

    The need to use technology to expose it, is precisely what makes it not "plain view".

    Its not in "plain view".

    "Technological plain view" is an oxymoron.

    If you're going to walk around naked all day, close your goddamned windows. Just because you're doing it in your house doesn't mean people can't see you.

    Suppose he does close his curtains. The use of curtains removes him from plain view, right. Just as the use of clothes removes nakedness from plain view.

    Suppose we develop a camera that can see right through curtains or clothes as if they weren't even there. Using that camera on people and their homes would be a violation of their privacy.

    The fact that that you can use technology to expose what **isn't** in plain view, doesn't give you any right to. The fact that they aren't wearing lead pants and living in faraday cages doesn't give you the right to decode and expose the NOT IN PLAIN VIEW information leaking from their homes.

  • Re:I call (Score:2, Insightful)

    by joeboomer628 ( 869162 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @07:16PM (#34211918)
    Why is this political, US laws cannot be enforced everywhere there is internet. This just shows how little politicians understand what the internet is.
  • Re:Bias? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2010 @07:19PM (#34211934)

    Leave it to Obama-nation to come up with another "position". More of my tax money[....]

    Out of curiosity - were you at least this angry with Bush when he created an entire new department that is mostly redundant (Homeland Security)?

    post script, I'm really not trying to bash Bush here... I just can't help but wonder if you're applying a double standard. So many conservatives seem to be suddenly freaking out about things Obama is doing that Bush also did, while at the same time many liberals who were furious at Bush for doing those things now give Obama a pass.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:02PM (#34212582)

    Yes, let's all welcome the tyranny of the majority.
    And while we're at it, the tyranny of the uninformed.

    Thanks for the welcome, although about several years to late.

  • Re:Bias? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Antisyzygy ( 1495469 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:05PM (#34212594)
    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, as they only have whats in their best interest in mind. Democrats are just as corrupt as Republicans, they just represent a different set of rich assholes that lust for power. Idiot Americans voting along party lines is what is pissing away any liberty America has left.
  • Re:Bias? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:25PM (#34212736) Homepage Journal

    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 [] 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. Republicans are the ones who gutted health insurance reform at every turn, yet Obama and Democrats still managed to make a bigger HCR law than has passed our lobbyist-swamped government since Medicare was passed (by Democrats, over the same Republican blockades). The requirement to buy health insurance is toothless, and cannot be enforced, so is merely a way to get Americans who live according to the system to pay what's necessary to support the system, unless they commit the equivalent of jaywalking. Meanwhile Obama has wound down Iraq and its horrendous losses of lives and money on schedule.

    Though indeed Democrats have their lying corporatists, too - they just don't control a lockstep party. Democratic corruption is sustainable, while Republican corruption has over and over nearly destroyed this country, until Democrats managed to pull it back into sustainable corruption. Nobody's got an alternative US politics that's not corrupt, but Democrats have an alternative US politics that's sustainable. I'll take sustainable over suicidal, which means I'll take Democrats over Republicans.

    What's really false is the false equivalence you just did your part to perpetuate.

    I swear no loyalty to any party. I'm not even a member of any party, though I'm very politically active, and have voted every chance I've had since I was old enough in the 1980s. I am loyal to America, the one I live in and that is described in the Constitution and even the rhetoric of some of our worst politicians: Republicans who hide their crimes behind tinny nationalism. I am loyal to the truth.

    The truth is that Republicans are intolerably corrupt, including their voters, while Democrats are sustainably corrupt. So when some Republican starts claiming that the truth about Republicans is "bias", I will debunk that. And when someone says Democrats are just as bad, I will debunk that. The truth is slightly more complex than "Republicans = bad / Democrats = good", which is why I don't say that. But it's not so complex that saying "Democrats = Republicans" is true.

  • Re:Bias? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:48PM (#34212854)
    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.
  • The problem with your theory is this: It fails to take into account the incredible power of propaganda and its effect on a populace. Just look how many American to this very day believe Iraq had something to do with 9/11? Why do they believe that? Because that is what the propaganda told them to believe, that's why!

    So unless you have some "silver bullet" that would dissolve all these "to big to fail" giant multinational corps with more money than many third world countries, well then you are just doomed to fail. Because they have the massive WMD known as propaganda in their pocket and I'd argue thanks to the "always on" nature of the MSM it is even easier to change the masses to your thinking than it was then. Just look at how many dirt poor consistently vote against their interests by voting republican? Does anyone actually think republican policies are gonna help someone living in a tar paper shack? But because their local MSM is hard right and pounds those views into them 24/7 that is how they vote.

    Welcome to the future comrade, where just a handful or people can completely control the beliefs of a large section of a populace simply using the incredible power of propaganda. Hell look how many poor people voted against getting themselves medical care even though studies have shown that having large sections of your populace unable to see a doctor is bad for everyone? Propaganda my friend, propaganda.

There's no future in time travel.