The FTC updates its privacy guidlines, for privacy

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Here’s one for you tin foil-wearing privacy advocates. (God bless you, but constantly being attuned to The Man watching your every move must be exhausting.) The Federal Trade Commission has set up a whole slew of new suggestions—not quite regulations, then—for Web sites in order to make their privacy policies more clear, and to regulate (without actually regulating) how they gather data and what they do with it.

Apparently the FTC is weary of Internet Service Providers being able to track your every move online, so it’s enacted these new guidelines to help you out, citizen. Whether or not Time Warner of Comcast cares that you spend all hours of the day reading FAIL Blog is another matter entirely.

And to be fair to the tin foil hat types—I say that with no derision in my voice; it’s merely a convenient metaphor for this tired soul to use as a crutch—it’s not like it’s entirely unheard of for ISPs and related companies to employ extreme methods to protect their own backside, legally. It wasn’t too long ago that so-called deep packet inspection dominated an Internet news cycle: is it appropriate to use the technology, if yes when is it appropriate, and so on.

Again, I’d stress that these new FTC guidelines are just that—guidelines; nothing is binding here. But the message the FTC is sending is clear: if you guys (the ISPs) don’t play nice, we’ll have to regulate you the good ol’ fashioned way.

I sincerely apologize for the lolcat.

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