NPR’s All Things Considered ran a piece yesterday about negotiations among U.S. technology companies to protect consumer privacy on the Internet, with a special eye toward European standards:

 

America’s big technology companies are negotiating the details of a new privacy system called “Do Not Track,” to let people shield their personal data on websites. There’s no deal yet, but people inside the talks say the main reason American companies are even considering “Do Not Track” is the pressure they’re feeling from Europe . . .

Not only should people be allowed to block websites from collecting and keeping their data, [a European privacy regulator] says, but that should be the default setting — on European browsers, at least.

 

Tell that to the U.S. House of Representatives, which just passed proposed legislation (code name CISPA) that “would increase the information that is shared between government and technology companies, giving each protection to share confidential information with one another in the interest of warding off cyberthreats.”

 

Can you say “working at cross-purposes”?

 

I knew you could.

 


John R. Carroll, who also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town, is an NPR media analyst and mass communication professor at Boston University.
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