Will Online Privacy Look Different Tomorrow?

2010-11-30-donottrack.jpgIt's likely that the first shot of a new online privacy revolution will be fired tomorrow at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.

Wednesday morning we will finally get a glimpse of the Federal Trade Commission's year-long study about how consumers can be protected online and whether a "Do Not Track Me" list is possible. FTC Consumer Protection Chief David Vladeck will speak at 8:30 AM EST about the report at Consumer Watchdog's policy conference on the future of online consumer protections. You can watch live here.

There are few issues 9 out of 10 Americans agree on. A Consumer Watchdog poll shows that 90% of Americans agree it is important to protect their privacy online. 86% want a "make me anonymous" button and 80% want the creation of a "do not track me" list online that would be administered by the Federal Trade Commission.

When 8 out of 10 Americans agree, there's no stopping us. That's why Republicans and Democrats are now both talking about supporting at "Do Not Track Me" list that is like the FTC's "Do Not Call Me" list.

Internet giants like Google and Facebook make all their money by tracking us online and advertising to us, so they want no limits on what they can do with our personal information. Often, we don't think of Google or Facebook as advertising agencies, but that's what they are. They offer us cool utilities in exchange for personal information about us that advertisers want to know.

There has to be a limit. Wednesday morning David Vladeck will talk about what limits are possible online and which are desirable.