U.S. Government Updates Internet Privacy Guidelines — Is It Enough?

The U.S. government has updated its list of “recommendations” for how online services should treat your privacy.

The Federal Trade Commission’s revamped code (which is merely a suggestion that companies can choose to accept or ignore) now asks Web services to make a point of informing users up-front that their data could be collected during searches, then giving them an option to opt-out. The new document also advises ISPs and mobile service providers to give users a full rundown of what they’re collecting and why.

“You may have a contract with your ISP and everywhere you go, they can be collecting information on you,” the FTC says.

Privacy advocates are already blasting the efforts, saying the guidelines don’t do enough to protect consumers. Some are calling for full-fledged laws surrounding privacy standards.

“The time for baby steps to protect online privacy is long past,” says an exec from the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington. “The commission failed to protect consumers here.”

So what do you think? Should the government get involved and regulate online privacy? Or should Web companies continue to govern themselves, as they do now?

Poll below.

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