The Week in Privacy – September 4, 2009

Privacy Advocates Push for New Legislation on Behavioral Targeting

A group of privacy advocates and consumer groups asked Congress to pass comprehensive legislation restricting the practices of online behavioral targeting. The New York Times reports, “They ask that no sensitive information (like health or financial information) be used for behavioral tracking; no one under 18 be behaviorally tracked; Web sites and ad networks be forbidden to keep behavioral data for more than a day without getting permission from the individual they’re tracking; and behavioral data be disallowed for discriminatory purposes.”  Free market advocates at Technology Liberation Front offered a response.


Congress Looking at Behavioral Targeting

The above-mentioned privacy advocates appear to have some support, the Associated Press reports, “Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, is drafting a bill that would impose broad new rules on Web sites and advertisers. His goal: to ensure that consumers know what information is being collected about them on the Web and how it is being used, and to give them control over that information.”


Facebook Works to Address Privacy Concerns in Canada

The AP reports that, “Facebook agreed Thursday to give users more control over the information they share with outside applications like games and quizzes in response to concerns raised by Canadian privacy officials. Currently, people who wish to use such software have to agree to share all their data with the application.”


NY Times Expresses Concerns Over “Locational Privacy”

The burgeoning use of geolocation data drew the concerns of The New York Times editorial page in a piece by Adam Cohen. Cohen opines, “When locational information is collected, people should be given advance notice and a chance to opt out. Data should be erased as soon as its main purpose is met. After you pay your E-ZPass bill, there is no reason for the government to keep records of your travel. The idea of constantly monitoring the citizenry’s movements used to conjure up images of totalitarian states. Now, technology does the surveillance — generally in the name of being helpful. It’s time for a serious conversation about how much of our privacy of movement we want to give up. “


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