The intersection between privacy, big data, and competition
Perhaps my viewpoint is extremist, but I am appalled at the absolute lack of privacy on the internet. I believe it should be utterly illegal for any online entity to collect any data about a person without that person's explicit permission. We should not be forced to search for "opt-out" options, if even available; instead we should be given the option to participate if we wish. But if we do not wish, then when we visit a website that site will know nothing more than they received a hit; they will not know your IP address, they will not know your OS, they will not know what browser you are using, they will not know if you use any AdBlock software, they will not know what other sites you visit, or what you "like" on Facebook. As it is I can go shopping in the real world, spending hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars, and everyone I deal with will collectively not know as much about me as one website (particularly any connected with Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or Microsoft) will glean from one visit. If you are a Yahoo user I'm sure you've read this recent message from them, which excellently delineates what I find so reprehensible: "Weve updated some of the ways we collect and analyze user data in order to deliver services, content, and relevant advertising to you and protect against abuse. This includes: Analyzing content and information (including emails, instant messages, posts, photos, attachments, and other communications) when you use our services. This allows us to deliver, personalize and develop relevant features, content, advertising and services Linking your activity on third-party sites and apps with information we have about you Providing anonymized and aggregated reports to other parties regarding user trends Weve joined Verizon. By joining Verizon, Oath and its affiliates may share the information we receive among Verizon. New information regarding personalization. Weve included new information explaining how we combine data among our services and across your devices and Oath accounts. This allows us to provide more personalized content and services." Rather than deal with such invasive, intrusive, and thoroughly unacceptable policies, I am moving my mail to German providers, where such abominations are not allowed. I hope in all your discussions and negotiations you will see fit to follow much of the rest of the world and slam the door in the face of Yahoo, Google, and all others who seem to think our every move online is their business.