‘Dilbert’ Focuses On Online Privacy

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When an issue becomes the topic of a comic strip, you know it's on the nation's agenda. Online privacy crossed that threshold today in Scott Adams' Dilbert.

I've been saying that the need to protect online privacy is one area where a bipartisan consensus in Washington may emerge.  All sorts of polls, including ours, have shown popular support for legislation to protect consumers' privacy online.

Dilbert drive's the issue home today. Take a look:

The strip made me chuckle, but sadly it's more on fact than fiction.  Right now much of the online advertising market is based on unauthorized spying on consumers. Clearly many computer engineers don't have Dilbert's moral compass. What can we do?

One tool is  a Do Not Track Me mechanism that would give consumers better control of their information and help restore their confidence in the Internet.  That’s a win-win for consumers and business. What kind of lasting business can be built on snooping on your customers? No company loses by respecting the wishes of its customers.

Last Friday Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA, introduced HR 654, the Do Not Track Me Online Act, which authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to enact and enforce regulations that would give consumers a right to block companies from tracking their activities as they use the Internet.

Take action. Click on the comic strip above, go to the Official Dilbert Website and share the Dilbert strip with your friends.  Then, you can urge your Representative to support the Speier bill here.

Consumers should have the right to choose if their private information – from shoe size, to health concerns, to religious beliefs  – is collected, analyzed and profiled by companies tracking activities online. Do Not Track is the simple way for consumers to say ‘no thanks’ to being monitored while they surf the web.

John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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