Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz believes that, while most people don’t know what happens to their personal data online and some notions of privacy may be shifting, average Internet users still “care enormously” about digital privacy.
“I think they are very concerned because they have a sense that information is being captured, and they’re not sure where it’s going,” Leibowitz told a small group of reporters at the FTC’s Western Region office in San Francisco on Thursday. “I don’t think most of us understand how it’s captured and transferred and monetized, but I think there is generally concern from consumers about that.”
As social and mobile technology continue to explode and proliferate the amount of information people reveal about themselves — including location, preferences and consumption habits — a number of recent high profile gaffes by tech companies have thrust privacy issues more into the public eye.
Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter have all been the subject of relatively visible privacy breaches or questions over the past several months. To name a few examples: Google is currently being investigated by the Federal Communications Commission regarding personal emails and data collected by its Street View cars; Facebook missed a deadline to grant European users more control over privacy; Sen. Charles Schumer called out Apple and Google for allegedly stealing users’ private contacts without their consent; and Twitter faced criticism for storing iPhone app users’ contacts on its own servers.
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By: Sam Laird