Internet Privacy: It's Complicated

The White House plans to release guidelines for internet companies to help them protect consumers' privacy today. However, the rules are voluntary, which means the web will likely remain an information free-for-all. The Federal Trade Commission will only police companies who agree to the administration's Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The only real incentive for companies to agree to the rules is to boost consumer confidence. "As the Internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy,” Obama said in a statement. “For businesses to succeed online, consumers must feel secure.” Although the White House did not include the "Do Not Track" button, which stops advertisers from recording user traffic, in its guidelines, a coalition of very powerful web companies have announced support for the button. Among them is Google, whose Chrome browser should have a "Do Not Track" button by the end of the year.


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