House Privacy Caucus co-chairs Congressmen Edward Markey and Joe Barton want to know how companies collect and use information they glean about website visitors. To at least to try to find out, they've sent letters to an eclectic list of 15 companies that includes Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Career Builder to find out how and what information they collect from consumers and, more importantly, how they use that information.
The letters were lawmakers' response to a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal that detailed the increasing use of online tracking to collect and store personal information. Since this type of snooping is generally acceded to the government, the Congressmen wrote they are "troubled" that "the price of consumers' unfettered use of the Internet increasingly is surrender of their personal information, preferences and intimate details to websites, data monitoring companies, marketers and other information gathering firms."
That's right. Leave that sort of thing to census takers and Homeland Security.
There's also evidence that the government continues to operate in a vacuum, or at least one side doesn't listen to the other. Although it's probably coincidental, it does look suspicious that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski delivered his latest net neutrality ultimatum only a day after Sen. Ben Nelson wrote a letter suggesting that he not move forward on anything that could result in increased oversight of broadband.
Big names on list for Senate's online privacy hearing
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