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By J. Smith

The White House is expected to ask Congress today to pass a “privacy bill of rights” with hopes of soothing a public weary of intrusive data gathering and tracking on the Internet. The Commerce Department issued a report in December outlining new enforceable rules and will look to expand the Federal Trade Commission’s authority, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The article states: “Among other things, the December report suggested that companies should ask an individual’s permission to use personal data for a purpose other than for which it was collected. The administration also eventually could propose that consumers be given the right to access information about themselves and to have the information stored securely.”

The government usually takes a hands-off approach when it comes to Internet regulation, but the push for privacy laws reflect a collective national (and rational) paranoia about behind-the-scenes data mining on the Web. We all know it’s there and grudgingly accept it, but we would all feel much much better knowing we have options to shield ourselves from it. I look forward to hearing the Republican backlash to this push from the White House, if there will be one. Is it OK for the government to be “intrusive” — the main talking point for most of the political right — if it means that the Internet will be less so?

According to the Journal, popular websites install thousands of tracking technologies on people’s computers without their knowledge, feeding an industry that gathers and sells information on their finances, political leanings and religious interests.

Read more:White House To Push Privacy Bill

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