The Stage is Set for an Online Privacy Showndown!

After “do not call” lists became popular, more than 90 percent of people who signed up reported fewer annoying telemarketing calls. Now, privacy advocates are pushing for a similar “do not track” feature that would let Internet users tell Web sites to stop surreptitiously tracking their online habits and collecting clues about age, salary, health, location and leisure activities.
That proposal and other ideas to protect online privacy are setting up a confrontation among Internet companies, federal regulators, the Obama administration and Congress over how strict any new rules should be.
In the next few weeks, both the Federal Trade Commission and the Commerce Department are planning to release independent, and possibly conflicting, reports about online privacy.
The two agencies have even tangled over which will release its report first, a decision that could set the tone for the clash to follow. People close to the talks say that, at least for now, the Commerce Department has been given the nod, provided it can complete its report soon.

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