Redrawing the route to online privacy


On the Internet, things get old fast. One prime candidate for the digital dustbin, it seems, is the current approach to protecting privacy on the internet, according to the New York Times. It is an artifact of the 1990s, intended as a light-touch policy to nurture innovation in an emerging industry. And its central concept is “notice and choice,” in which Web sites post notices of their privacy policies and users can then make choices about sites they frequent and the levels of privacy they prefer. But policy and privacy experts agree that the relentless rise of Internet data harvesting has overrun the old approach of using lengthy written notices to safeguard privacy. These statements are rarely read, are often confusing and can’t hope to capture the complexity of modern data-handling practices. As a result, experts say, consumers typically have little meaningful choice about the online use of their personal information — whether their birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers or web-browsing habits.

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