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The Federal Gov't Tells Consumers How to Protect Their Private Data


But only from private industry.

(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

The government has a few privacy tips to share with consumers – but only for guarding against private industry snooping.

The Federal Trade Commission, charged with overseeing American consumer privacy, is slated to host a workshop to let consumers know how to protect themselves from companies that might be peering into their private data, the Washington Post reported.

(Photo credit: Shutterstock) (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Chairwoman Edith Ramirez spoke Thursday at the International Association of Privacy Professionals Privacy Summit  in Washington, D.C. to highlight President Barack Obama's proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The proposal aims to establish protections for individual privacy in the commercial industry.

While the details of what will be discussed during the workshop are not yet clear, Ramirez spent much of her time explaining that companies with multiple platforms are increasingly tracking which websites consumers visit, even as they browse between their desktops, laptops and mobile phones, in order to develop more comprehensive profiles for those individuals.

Facebook, for example, has its own traditional website, a mobile app and its often used to sign in to other websites. By essentially following users from one device to another as they browse the Internet, Facebook can get a better idea of what that person likes to read and where they shop. That information could then be used for more accurate targeting of advertisements, potentially resulting increased revenue for the social media giant.

The National Security Agency came under fire in 2013 when it was revealed that it had secretly collected private email and phone data belonging to millions of Americans. Obama called the revelation "outrageous," and vowed to get to the bottom of it. Two years, the debate over whether privacy rights trump potential national security risks is still one that is front and center both on Capitol Hill and inside the Obama administration.

(H/T: Washington Post)

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