Nov 25

German Federal authorities seek provider-side privacy protection for web users.

Protection of the privacy of web surfers has always been somewhat of a thorny issue, not only because of technical issues, but also of theories as to who best can be trusted to protect your privacy.

The issue of disclosure also plays a part. It is often the case that the capabilities of a company like Google are far beyond what the average web user might expect. Is it reasonable, then, to require mandatory public briefings or public service announcements?

For instance, imagine you are getting ready to start your work day. You sit down at your desk and click to start reading your email, but instead of going directly to your email, you must first click to acknowledge that you have read this week’s mandated disclosure briefing that Google Analytics now has a 64% predictive accuracy rate in foretelling what your next purchase over 15% of your income is going to be.

This just might be the world that the German authorities are worried about, and they just might think it’s worth investigating.

On the other hand, there is the argument that asks why it must be illegal to have that knowledge, if it is used to provide customers with what they indeed want, instead of what they don’t want and don’t need, but just might be in a state of overstock with a particular company that has favor with the government for one reason or another. For instance, you might indeed need a new roof for your house, but instead you are bombarded with advertisements for new carpeting or gas furnaces, because of corporate decisions that have nothing to do with you.

Ultimately, the question might be, who is in control of the customization of your Internet experience to your choices? Setting some time aside to ask and answer this and related questions is rarely time wasted.

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