Online Privacy

November 6, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 39
Do Americans need better protection?
By Patrick Marshall


Online visits can now be tracked (CQ Press/Screenshot)
Consumers' visits to online shopping sites — as well as other sites — now can be tracked with new electronic tools by advertisers, Internet service providers and hackers. (CQ Press/Screenshot)

The Internet has become not only a primary means of communication but a place where millions of Americans store important personal data, from credit-card numbers and bank account information to family photos and histories of their online purchases. But that data does not have the same legal protection as data that Americans store in their homes. What's more, powerful new technologies are creating unexpected challenges to privacy online. Advertisers, for example, can now track the Web sites you visit, and actions you take on those sites, to analyze how to more effectively sell products to you. And they may sell the information they collect to others. Privacy advocates, and some lawmakers in Congress, say the growing threats to online privacy point to the need for stronger laws to protect users' data. But Republicans in Congress warn that overregulation may cripple the economic foundation of the Internet.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 09, 2018  Privacy and the Internet
Dec. 04, 2015  Privacy and the Internet
Oct. 25, 2013  Big Data and Privacy
Aug. 30, 2013  Government Surveillance
Jan. 25, 2013  Social Media Explosion
Sep. 17, 2010  Social Networking
Nov. 06, 2009  Online Privacy Updated
Nov. 17, 2006  Privacy in Peril
Jun. 15, 2001  Privacy Under Attack
Nov. 06, 1998  Internet Privacy
Nov. 19, 1993  Privacy in the Workplace
Apr. 17, 1992  Politicians and Privacy
Jan. 20, 1989  Your Right to Privacy
Mar. 21, 1986  Privacy in the Workplace
Oct. 18, 1974  Rights to Privacy
Apr. 05, 1967  Wiretapping and Bugging
Apr. 20, 1966  Protection of Privacy
Nov. 09, 1961  Wiretapping in Law Enforcement
Feb. 29, 1956  Surveillance of Spying
Jan. 25, 1956  Eavesdropping Controls
Mar. 14, 1949  Wire Tapping
Internet and Social Media