Recent News Articles from around the web

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.: Net privacy and the myth of self-regulation - 16th Oct 2001

"Two of the principal tools championed by industry "self-regulators" to preserve online consumer privacy rights, disclosure and anonymity are fast looking like a smokescreen to justify some extraordinary corporate intrusions.

Consider the case of ComScore Networks, one of several new online market research companies to emerge within the last year providing access to pure "clickstream" data on Web surfers. The company has signed up about 1.5 million members by offering software to speed up Web performance. In exchange, it demands complete access to all of the information that streams over the browser, peering in on everything from Web pages visited to secure transactions and even personal banking records..."

.: US u-turn on online privacy laws - 4th Oct 2001

"A US Government consumer watchdog has abandoned plans for new online privacy legislation, saying it will concentrate on enforcing existing laws.

In a long-anticipated speech, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy Muris said he did not see the need for new legislation to give consumers greater control over how information about them was shared online.

Instead, he said the commission would focus on enforcing existing laws and policies, increasing the resources dedicated to privacy protection by 50% ..."
[BBC News]

.: Gran Hermano Is Watching - 19th Sep 2001

"Three signs hang from balconies at the Gothic Quarter square where a city-run surveillance camera has been operating for nearly a month.

Two of the banners take sides on the ongoing dispute over the water rights to the Ebro, Spain’s largest river. A third one calls for cleaning up street crime. None of the signs protests the installation of cameras at either end of narrow Escudellers street, one at the point where it connects with the heavily visited Ramblas promenade, the other one three blocks away at the square.

There has been no organized demonstration against the cameras, no groundswell of indignation. Tampa, Florida, this is not..."

.: Bush Bill Rewrites Spy Laws - 19th Sep 2001

"The Bush administration will ask for more power to eavesdrop on phone calls, the Internet and voicemail messages, according to an outline of a bill obtained by Wired News.

In response to last week's catastrophic terrorist attacks, President Bush plans to ask Congress to approve far-reaching legislation that rewrites U.S. laws dealing with electronic surveillance, immigration and support for terrorists.

"We will call upon the Congress of the United States to enact these important anti-terrorism measures this week," Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday. "We need these tools to fight the terrorism threat which exists in the United States, and we must meet that growing threat."..."

.: ID cards weighed by Congress - 19th Sep 2001

"Fewer visas, biometric database are also under discussion. In response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Congress is considering requiring all citizens and non-citizens to carry identity cards. Those might be “smart cards” storing data such as fingerprints and travel records. Congressional leaders are also discussing tight limits on granting visas to enter the United States and a system of tracking those who are admitted. Such steps would mark a historic change in the lives of Americans and visitors to the United States.

Reviewing the questions that congressional leaders were raising last Thursday, House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt told Fox News, “What kind of identity cards would we make citizens and others carry? Would they carry more information?”..."

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