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:
- if you browse for products and services online, advertisers might collect and share information about your activities, including your searches, the websites you visit, and the content you view;
- if you participate in a social networking site, third-party applications are likely to have access to the information you or your friends post on the site;
- if you use location-enabled smartphone applications, multiple entities might have access to your precise whereabouts;
- if you use loyalty cards at a grocery store or send in a product warranty card, your name, address, and information about your purchase may be shared with data brokers and combined with other data.
This blog has suggested that readers pay attention to their families’ online privacy concerns as well as stay informed about significant privacy issues. Readers may also want to check out the ongoing series on privacy published by reporters at the Wall Street Journal.