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Regulators Disagree About Approach To Online-Privacy Rules

Data and privacy regulators from governments around the world met in Mexico City last week for the 33rd International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners to discuss online privacy issues. The topic of debate centered on big databases and how their benefits can be tapped into without the costs of discrimination and invasion of privacy and whether or not all of this big data is being used to observe general patterns of online behavior, or being used to target and identify specific individuals. Many commissioners, especially those from Europe and Latin America, believe their countries must enact very tough privacy laws that tightly restrict what can be collected, how long it can be held and what can be done with it. Yet others advocate a more flexible approach of requiring consumers to consent to “cookies” being place on their computers by Web sites. While everyone does not necessarily deem cookies as bad, it is widely agreed upon that people should know if they are being tracked, and also have the ability to turn the tracking off.

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