There's little privacy in a digital world
Posted in: Legal, Privacy & Security at 02/10/2011 17:36
Users of TVs, computers and smartphones leave technological fingerprints wherever they go, and companies are lapping up the data.
Over the course of a day, hundreds of digital traces pile up, each offering more insight into the way Hartman and his family live.
For this kind of surveillance, no fancy spy gadgets are needed. The technological instruments that capture details of the Hartmans' lives are the ones they use most often: their computers, smartphones and TV systems.
"Essentially, each of us is being tailed," said Kevin Bankston, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Whether you went to the family planning clinic or a psychiatrist, or to be treated at the cancer specialists' office," data gleaned from cellphones alone reveal "an enormous amount about us."
But regulatory efforts are drawing resistance from companies such as Google Inc. and Facebook that rely on personal information to sell advertising, and so far, none of the bills has passed. Privacy observers say it may be years before legal protections catch up to industry practices.