“You are shedding data everywhere,” senior White House adviser John Podesta says in an interview with The New York Times.
The deluge of data that private companies collect on citizens currently knows no bounds. But in a report released Thursday, the White House took a step toward putting limitations on how companies can use the information they gather: “In light of the continuing proliferation of ways to collect and use information about people, PCAST (the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) recommends that policy focus primarily on whether specific uses of information about people affect privacy adversely.”
Spearheaded by Podesta, the report also notes new tracking methods associated with metadata and the rise of social media networks and mobile devices. And it recommends the revival of a “consumer privacy bill of rights" to govern use of consumer data.
According to the Times, “the report was viewed warily in Silicon Valley, where companies see it as the start of a government effort to regulate how they can profit from the data they collect from email and web surfing habits.”
So how exactly are these companies making money from our data?
For those who’ve been following The Center for Investigative Reporting’s surveillance coverage, the knowledge that private companies like Google and others collect and analyze your data comes as no surprise. Our animated feature “Hot on Your Trail” details this everyday process of tracking your information – even when you’re not logged in.
In fact, surveillance is a topic CIR has been investigating for a while – we’ve looked at how the federal government, local agencies and private entities are using it to advance their efforts. And we want to continue doing these kinds of stories to inform the public about how these advancements could affect American civil liberties.
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