Stronger Internet Privacy Laws Are Unnecessary

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Stronger Internet Privacy Laws Are Unnecessary
The Internet, 2005
As you read, consider the following questions:

1. What company was sued because its Web site 's advertisement placed cookies on the computers of people visiting the site?
2. In what European country was a privacy-protection law used to curtail free speech, according to
Mishkin?
The "right to privacy" has been around since the early part of the last century. It has evolved to apply—more or less—to a disparate array of social and economic issues, ranging from the desire to avoid publicity ( Time v. Hill
) to abortion (Roe v. Wade). The recent explosive growth of Internet use has created its own set of privacy concerns arising from this new medium. By mid-2001, the
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Others misbehaved as well. Liberty Financial operated the Young Investors web site, devoted to adolescents and teens. The site included a survey that gathered private information (social security numbers and telephone numbers, for instance), promised prizes for completing it and assured users that "all of your answers will be totally anonymous." In fact, the FTC found that Liberty did not keep the information anonymously and did not even award the prizes it had promised. Liberty entered into a Consent Decree in 1999, promising to (a) stop making false claims about anonymity; (b) post a Privacy Policy; and (c) obtain "verifiable parental consent" before gathering private information from children under 13 years old.
In the Liberty action, the FTC was foreshadowing the requirements of a law that went into effect the following year—the Children 's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA"). Under COPPA, a web site that is principally directed towards children under 13 years old must abide by some very strict rules before gathering personal information from users. COPPA requires a much more detailed Privacy Policy and goes further to require a direct notice to the parents, and that the web site operator has "verifiable parental consent" as was done in the Consent
Decree with Liberty
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