The Boundaries of Privacy

Journalists are getting more attuned to the privacy issue, but our coverage is begging a difficult question. Some of the tools of our trade are being used to invade privacy.

More in my Sunday column.

Weekend Reading

  • Ed Foster (Infoworld): They are everywhere you want to be — and even where you don’t want them. I could argue point by point where the loopholes are in the restrictions Curry says Amazon is imposing on itself, but it’s not worth the effort. Why not? Because this new one could change at any time.
    Amazon’s new privacy statement is a sick joke. It purports to clarify and update the old one, but its real effect is to announce Amazon’s right to do pretty much anything it pleases at any time.

    If ever there was a poster child for the need for federal laws on privacy, this is it. The biggest online marketer has thrown down a gauntlet.

    Will Congress respond? Or will we learn, once and for all, that our lawmakers are much more interested in the rights of businesses to do what they please with our most personal information than our rights to keep some things private?

    I wish I had more confidence in Congress.

  • Gretchen Morgenson (New York Times): Professionals Play the Stock Manipulation Game, Too. Jonathan is unaware that once upon a time, Wall Street analysts occasionally uttered cautious views on shares and did in-depth work to assess a stock’s worth. And the teenage trader was not yet born when accounting standards were dutifully followed, not flouted, by corporations. Finally, Jonathan is simply too young to remember the days when investor disbelief was not in a state of permanent suspension.
    This is an important column. But it will be ignored by the rich and powerful who have turned Wall Street into a rigged casino.

    We are living in a time of utter cynicism, brought about in part by the sleazy doings in the business and financial markets. These people have a lot to answer for. They’ll have made their money when the bricks come tumbling down, though, and few will be brought to account.

    Welcome to the world, circa 2000.

  • Bob Metcalfe (Infoworld): Into the sunset. In this final episode of From the Ether, I’ll return to a crusade for which we are now only stacking our lances: Anticiparallelism.
    We’ll miss Bob’s commentaries.

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