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Websites gather information about us when we‘re online, even if we don’t understand or offer the information. First they get our email addresses and it goes from there in a ripple effect until some people are sorely exposed; and that’s when they get information about us legally.
Once gathered, our information is given or sold to others, it’s put on lists, it’s used to advertise to us and it’s even used in demographics for businesses unknown to us. There are increasingly sophisticatedways of gathering this information including recording what we search for on Google, who will then show ads tailored to our previous searches.
California Gets Extra Protection
Luckily there’s California, Inland Rep. Mary Bono Mack who pointedly questioned the need to ensure Internet privacy through added regulations. If regulations are added, then they should be very specific in every detail so as not to create a blanket rule.
Another thing she’s pushing for is rules to make Internet retailers and services have protections in place for every customer they deal with so no information can be stolen. This rule is in place right now, but many companies enjoy an unmonitored lack of ethic and do – or don’t – as they please.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) agreed that self-regulation hasn’t worked so far, and expressed that it’s time to move forward. But still Bono Mack dug deeper, saying a broad regulation creates a government overstep, citing ‘not enough proof’ or the ‘appearance’ of a sale causing substantial harm to consumers, as examples. She wants detailed regulations that will make businesses protect citizens from being harmed for their patronage.