The Nation’s Capital

Call me old-fashioned, but I still get goosebumps when I look down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol dome. For all the sleaze and bad faith that sometimes seems to ooze from Congress, this is still the heart of the best government on Earth. Public service is a noble calling, and I admire the people who do it.

I’m in Washington for a couple of days, mostly to interview William Kennard, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He’s the next installment of my Exploring Leadership series, which started with Andy Grove and continued with Linus Torvalds.

Dave and GG Farber:
On Sunday evening I had dinner with Dave and GG Farber. Dave, a telecommunications professor at the University of Pennsylvania and longtime leader in networking technology and related issues, is in Washington this year, serving as the FCC’s Chief Technologist.

Opera Still Singing

Opera Software announced the public beta of version 4.0 of its browser software.

“Tired of 10MB+ downloads, megabytes of updates, sluggish performance, HTML standard violations, desktop domination, instability, the seductive word ‘free’, and a browser war that left you as the only casualty? Then welcome to Opera!”

DoubleClick Isn’t the Only Privacy Violator

You might think the online world would learn from DoubleClick’s well-chronicled problems. You might be wrong.

A reader points me to Naviant, a company with a mission I find dismaying: According to the company’s Web site, “For the first time, e-Targeting from Naviant will help you significantly improve online advertising performance by integrating actual online identity with offline demographics and behavior.”

Here’s Naviant’s letter to consumers, a 152-kilobyte download that pledges to adhere to “all industry privacy standards” — which is exactly the problem. You, the consumer, have to a) discover that Naviant and its partners are watching what you do online; b) find your way to the proper site; and c) opt out yourself. Genuine privacy standards would require Naviant and its buddies to persuade you to opt in.

Here’s the company’s Consumer Record Maintenance Page, which is apparently the place where you can opt out. If you can figure out how this works, let me know.

I’ve called the company for comment, and will post its response.

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