Getting Serious About Online Privacy

Your family’s privacy is significantly diminished by online activities, and a new government report is critical of the situation.

Yesterday’s New York Times (December 1, 2010) featured an article, F.T.C. Backs Plan to Honor Privacy of Online Users, reporting on recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about collecting online information without permission. The article, written by reporters Edward Wyatt and Tanzina Vega, describes the FTC report Protecting Privacy in a Time of Rapid Change (122 pages of interesting reading) in some detail, but the gist of the recommendations, according to the Times writers, is “that companies adopt simpler, more transparent, and streamlined ways of presenting consumers with their options…” Take time to read the entire piece.

A few interesting points from FTC the report include: Continue reading

Protecting Your Family’s Online Privacy

These days we use computers all the time, and as a result significant privacy issues exist. Families with multiple computers, multiple users, and wireless devices have even more concerns.

Every site visited, every form filled out, every item ordered, in fact, every task accomplished, leaves information —  digital footprints — behind. And naturally, when people leave bits of virtual information lying around, other people figure out ways to collect it. Read A Web Pioneer Profiles People by Name, an October 25, 2010 Wall Street Journal article that describes invasive tracking and its extremes. The article is part of the newspaper’s ongoing series on virtual privacy.

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Common Sense Media – Protecting Kids’ Privacy

Click to Visit Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media (CSM) is an advocacy group that I’ve noted a number of times on this blog. The group promotes media education rather than censorship and hands-on parent connections with their children’s media lives. President Obama mentioned CSM in his presidential campaign, lauding the organization’s “sanity not censorship” mission.

Currently Common Sense Media is focusing on privacy and kids with its Protect Our Privacy – Protect Our Kids campaign. The six goals of this effort, to which I’ve added a bit of additional explanation, include: Continue reading

Protecting Privacy Online

On the web just about everything we do is recorded or tracked in some way. The digital footprints of our online lives are collected for all sorts of reasons, advertising primary among them, and while some companies collect data on individuals, others collect data and then combine information to identify trends. Either way, personal online privacy is eroded. Guiding children toward an understanding that nothing they do on the web is private is one of the greatest responsibilities of digital era parenting

A few of the cookies on a computer.

The Wall Street Journal is publishing a series on privacy, describing how the digital documentation of our online lives is affecting our private lives and explaining the steps individuals and families can take to protect their privacy. A graphic in the series provides readers with step-by-step instructions to make Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer protect privacy.

Another part of the Journal series, a July 30, 2010 article, Sites Feed Personal Details to New Tracking Industry, provides additional information about tracking, detailing the steps that occur when a group collects a user’s information and then sells that information to companies and advertisers.

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