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    Opinion: Fred Cate — Internet privacy: Mind your own business

    The Journal UK has an opinion column about online privacy by Fred Cate, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington, director of the Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, and senior policy advisor to the Center for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams.

    We live in a world of constant data collection – online and off. Increasingly, everything we do, every step we take, every transaction we enter into is memorialized in digital data. These digital footprints are then collected, stored, manipulated and often shared by third parties, usually without meaningful notice or consent. […]

    Even information we don’t provide online is consistently converted to electronic format and launched onto computer networks. This is true of the 30 billion cheque and 48 billion credit and debit card transactions that we engage in annually. More surprising is how much personal data is collected and stored that we are never aware of.

    Consider, for example, location information. There are upwards of 2.7 billion mobile phones worldwide, which 95 per cent of users say they keep within three feet of themselves at all times. […]

    Protecting privacy in the face of ubiquitous data requires many tools: technology, education, market pressure but most of all it requires strong laws that impose serious obligations on industry to act as stewards, not merely processors, of our data, and firm limits on government access to those data.

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