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Five Ways the FTC Hopes to Protect Your Privacy on Mobile Devices

The Federal Trade Commission recently had a meeting with Congress to explain how it is protecting consumers’ privacy on mobile devices. The FTC said it is working to create solutions that protect consumers without stifling technology innovations, but what exactly does that mean for the millions of smartphone and tablet users out there? Check out five highlights from the testimony you need to know. Read More

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Ask the Expert: What Are Supercookies? Do They Affect My Online Privacy?

Do you know what a cookie is? No, not the sweet kind we like to eat with a big glass of milk. A cookie (at least the kind found on the Web) is a short line of text that a website puts on your computer's hard drive when you visit it. And new "supercookie" filess can store more information than a normal cookie and are scattered in multiple locations, which makes them harder to identify and remove. Check out our latest Ask the Expert to learn everything you ever wanted to know about cookies but were afraid to ask. Read More

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Europe to Implement ‘Cookie Legislation’ for Enhanced Online Privacy

Major websites across Europe are scrambling to implement a new rule also known as the "cookie directive” to safeguard consumer privacy online. This new law – which was actually passed in 2009 – goes into effect May 25 and requires companies to get "explicit consent" from users before installing cookies (small files that track your online browsing history). Read More

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Do Not Track and Online Privacy: Mozilla’s CEO Speaks About Protecting Consumers

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs said technological tools are better than government regulation when safeguarding users’ privacy online. "I never rely on the government to lead something, it just takes too long. Capitalism works,” he said in the interview. As for online privacy, he said it “has taken on new urgency as more aspects of our identities -- from our movie preferences to our relationships to our purchases -- migrate to the web.”

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FTC Claims Online Advertiser Deceived Consumers Who Wanted to Opt Out From Targeted Ads

The Federal Trade Commission calls it deception, while the accused online advertising company calls it merely a technical bug. What happened to make the FTC so angry with online advertising company Chitika, Inc.? The FTC accused Chitika of using deceptive consumer opt-out mechanisms that violated federal law. If you’ve ever seen display ads that correlate to your interests, recent searches, or online purchases, welcome to the world of behavioral advertising. Read More

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Q&A: Data Privacy Day Leader On Our New Digital Reality, Online Privacy Trends

Online privacy and security have become a central part of our new digital reality, so it was a great honor to track down Leonardo Cervera, the man responsible for the first "Data Privacy Day" event in the United States. We chatted about data privacy and his overall background and interest in keeping people safer online, we learned more about his book focused on keeping children safe online, and heard his views on proposed "Do Not Track" federal legislation, among other issues. As Cervera states, "Data Protection Days are a great opportunity to reach out to the general audience, not only to specialists, and to join forces at national, regional, and international levels, to foster a societal debate around data privacy issues." Read More

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SelectOut Founder Analyzes 1,000 Privacy Policies to Make Online Privacy Easier, Part 2

In Part 1 on Tuesday, we chatted with Calvin Pappas, the founder of SelectOut. His site helps consumers understand how companies really gather online data and encourages them to better protect their information. We continue our conversation about how his “opt out” system works, as well as his background and interest in online privacy. Read More

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SelectOut Founder Analyzes 1,000 Privacy Policies to Make Online Privacy Easier, Part 1

Calvin Pappas is just 19-years-old but thinks online privacy is one of the hottest topics today. While Congress debates regulating the online advertising and tracking industry, the Computer Engineering student has created a site called SelectOut to teach consumers how companies really gather and use their online data. Read More

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Surf Anonymously? A Visual Map of How Marketers Track Your Online Habits

Check out a fantastic, highly visual chart (via the link below) that details in several steps how advertisers are able to track consumers, from first-party tracker files to cookies and beyond, as well as what a “Privacy Bill of Rights” would look like. As this blog on Site Jabber explains, “the idea of a national ‘Privacy Bill of Rights’ arrived two weeks after the Federal Trade Commission recommended the creation of a ‘Do Not Track’ tool to let consumers stop or restrict advertisers from studying their online activity for ad targeting purposes — including the websites they visit, the links they check, their Internet searches, and their online purchases.”

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Do Not Track: What New Privacy Features in Chrome, Firefox, and IE9 Really Do

Want to learn more about "Keep My Opt-Outs" from Google’s Chrome browser? Curious about similar new privacy features announced on Mozilla’s Firefox browser and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9? This USA Today article explains details behind the new privacy features, though new consumer privacy enhancements are questionable at best since “it would likely still take a new federal law to compel the ad networks to honor such requests” and “If you are someone who would like to stop ad networks from systematically indexing the websites you surf to, referred to as clickstream tracking, don't hold your breath. There are billions motivating the online advertising networks to keep clickstream tracking pretty much as is; the biggest ad networks are operated by Google, Adobe, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Coremetrics and Quantserve.”

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