Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

David Talbot

A View from David Talbot

A Place to Complain about Internet Privacy

Campaign takes shape to gather complaints and get Congress to pass privacy laws.

  • December 3, 2009

Don’t like what a website has done with your personal information? Don’t understand its privacy policies? A new privacy complaint site is now open for business–created by an Internet freedom and privacy advocacy group in Washington, D.C. called the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT).

The Take Back Your Privacy site offers simple ways to file complaints.

Complaints can be shared with your social network via sites like Twitter and Facebook, and also forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If enough complaints surface, it’s possible that the FTC will launch an investigation into whether a website is violate existing laws.

The larger point is to create a cudgel to get Congress interested in enacting comprehensive Internet privacy legislation. CDT has already put out a pretty good guide to online privacy problems, explaining existing and often narrowly-written patchwork of court rulings and laws, most of them falling hopelessly behind rapid technological advances.

“In the past ten years, the ability of Internet companies to collect and aggregate information has increased dramatically,” says Leslie Harris, the group’s president. But while some states have taken action, Congress has not. “We see next year as the first time in a decade that we will have serious debate in Congress on whether we will have comprehensive privacy laws.”

Among other things, says Harris, “we ought to have a tool that takes you out of online tracking; with one click, you delete all tracking devices that have been put on your computer.” Users should also have the power to force Internet companies to delete personal data, such as search requests, after the passage of a reasonable period of time, she adds.

Keep up with the latest in Privacy at Business of Blockchain 2019.

May 2, 2019
Cambridge, MA

Register now
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Print + All Access Digital.
  • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

    10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    Ad-free website experience

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    The MIT Technology Review App

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.