Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Where's the Harm?

Two consumer advocacy groups have filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), saying Microsoft Corp. and other Web-based companies are using "unfair and deceptive" business practices to collect data about their customers.
The FTC next week is hosting a three-day forum on protecting consumers online, called "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade," but the agency needs to go beyond a series of presentations by Web companies and take a hard look at data collection, Chester said.
"The time for show and tell is long past," he said."There's increasingly sophisticated ways of tracking people's information online, and there are no safeguards."
Shouldn't they have to show that the data collection is harmful before they file complaints? Hell, this sounds like a positive benefit for consumers. Instead of getting bombarded by advertisements for little blue pills I can see something that I might actually want to buy?

This habit of "protecting me" from imaginary harms is really getting a bit trite. The risks online are way overblown and it well past time for someone to call these so called consumer groups on it.

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