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Group gives Obama administration poor grades on Internet privacy

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC (Courtesy of EPIC)

The Electronic Privacy and Information Center delivered average to poor grades to the Obama administration on consumer privacy issues, saying in its annual privacy report card that the federal government has done worse this year in protecting civil liberties.

The White House recently established an inter-agency task force for Internet privacy, and two privacy bills are under consideration in the House. But consumer advocacy groups say the U.S. appears to lag European and other nations that have responded more quickly to a growing number of privacy breaches by social networks and Internet sites. At the same time, the U.S. has taken a more aggressive approach to profiling travelers and expanding its ability to surveil Internet networks.

In its Obama Administration 2010 report card released last week, the privacy advocacy group gave the administration a “D” in protection of civil liberties, noting that the Obama administration has expanded watch lists and implemented body searches in airports. Last year, the group gave the White House a “C” in civil liberties, saying the administration had inherited many troubling programs from the previous administration such as the Patriot Act, fusion centers and no-fly lists.

“We wish we could give higher marks to the former law school professor now in the White House,” EPIC wrote. “But it doesn’t take a legal scholar to conclude that little has changed.”

As reported by Edward Cody in Brussels, the European Union has pushed against U.S. attempts to share airline passenger data and other information designed to catch would-be terrorists more quickly.

On consumer protection, EPIC gave the government a “C” compared with an “incomplete” grade last year.

The group noted that the Federal Trade Commission has taken more than one year to announce major privacy investigations, despite complaints by his group and others about privacy policy changes at Facebook, Google Street View cars and others. The FTC keeps its ongoing investigations private and is not a regulatory agency, enabled to make rules as easily as the Federal Communications Commission. It has announced the settlement of an enforcement case brought against Twitter for allowing user data to be exposed during a cyber attack.

Other privacy advocates echo EPIC’s concerns that the U.S. has been slow to respond to mounting concerns over the approach companies such as Google and Facebook take to privacy.

Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, noted that after Google admitted last week that its Street View cars collected e-mail, URLs and passwords of unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, the U.K. immediately opened a new investigation into the firm and Italy required labeling of Street View cars. Canada announced this month that its investigation into the episode concluded Google violated its privacy laws.

“Where’s the U.S. on this? Nowhere to be found. Everyone else, however, is moving forward on privacy and leaving the U.S. – the home to all these Internet companies – way behind,” Chester said.

Other stories of interest:

Google "mortified" it collected e-mail, URLS, passwords from Wi-Fi networks

White House forms federal committee on privacy, Internet policy

Armed with new treaty, E.U. amplifies resistance to U.S. data sharing

By Cecilia Kang  | October 27, 2010; 8:46 AM ET
Categories:  Facebook, Google, Privacy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Cablevision, Fox dispute ratchets up ahead of World Series; FCC says stop the "stunts"
Next: FTC drops inquiry into Google Street View flap


obama, His words describe him, He is a False Hope, If you listen to him you will love him. He carries a Bow without an Arrow. He will conquer all through his speech, his false hoods will capture all who sit and listen to him.
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
11And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Posted by: makom | October 27, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The grade to give to our Presidents and Government should be D- no matter who the President is. Our Presidents and the Government wants total Control over internet and privacy can just evaporate into nothingness.

That is why we need Hackers and that is why I hope someone writes on these pages on how to become a decent Hacker. Hackers should and are the ones really protecting the rights of internet users to a very strong degree, I think.

Posted by: SOCIETY1 | October 27, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

WE, the people of the U.S have sat on our butts while listening to our elected gov't tell us who the terrorists of the world are. Now that the many abuses of power and the lies from the very top of our gov't to those who the military has put into harm's way without a chance to question the reality of what they are forced to do have been exposed for the world to see by Wikileaks, it's now clear who the real terrorists of the world are. First, a real terrorist group with real power would station their troops in bases around the world. Then they would invest in the very best killing machines. It would not matter to these terrorists who they aligned themselves with, as long as their agenda could be furthered. They might even sell weapons to those who have attacked them on their own soil. Now, read very carefully. The Saudi Arabians financed and carried out the attack on 9/11. Research it and then see if you can in you heart, say that you really believe I'm wrong. Just announced this week, our gov't is in the process of concluding what will be the largest arms sale ever in history. Who might we want to help this badly? Our allies, of course. Who is our gov't selling these arms to? SAUDI ARABIA. THE GOV'T OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS THE LARGEST TERRORIST ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD. Against other nations to against it's own citizens, NOBODY wages terrorism like our gov't does. We have the worlds BEST troops, and great troops follow orders, and I'm proud of our troops and have hope for them and their families. But the gov't gives not one inch of care for any of them. They send them into harms way to support the gov'ts terrorist agenda. If I'm wrong I'll gladly admit it. But for now, the evidence points in only one direction. And some of us wonder why other countries don't like us. I don't wonder why, but it's only my opinion on that. The rest of what I said is based on facts, now more than ever, easily obtained, until our gov't finds another way to hide the truth, once again.

Posted by: bcreek1 | October 27, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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