Linda Criddle, president of the Safe Internet Alliance: "The health of online privacy today is split between the ultra-wealthy, who can afford to guard their privacy, and the average consumer, for whom privacy is on life-support.The vulnerability caused by bad actors is ubiquitous even though most companies, including flagships Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo!, go to great lengths to protect privacy, have clear policies that don't change every time you turn around, and clearly respect their users.
"Fortunately, consumer groups are taking action to make such practices universal. On April 8, the Center for Digital Democracy, US PIRG and World Privacy Forum filed a complaint with the FTC, calling for an investigation into companies conducting stealth collection of consumer data. Only through such concerted efforts can consumers effectively dictate their own privacy boundaries."
Is privacy dead or alive? Privacy advocates say it shouldn't be and that we need to be more careful about what we share and don't share online. Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt and others in similar positions say no one wants privacy anymore. And then there are those who stand to make a buck by convincing us that privacy is teetering on the edge of extinction, but their software or their service can help us keep our privacy alive.
Our Lora Bentley decided to throw the question out there to see if anyone else had a different idea. So in a completely unscientific poll of roughly 20 folks who responded to an e-mail, Lora found six who say privacy is alive and three who think it is dead beyond any hope of revival. The more interesting responses came from those who fell somewhere in the middle. Some offer tips for consumers who want to keep their private lives private, others point to what various businesses offer to help do the same. They agree that regulation plays a part, but essentially, they say online privacy is what you make it. You have to decide what you're comfortable disclosing and then do the work required to protect the rest of it.