Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Fourth Amendment and GPS Tracking

As I've written in excruciating detail about on this blog, the Obama Administration has been a complete disappointment on issues related to privacy and civil liberties. To be sure, I never expected his actions as President to fully match his words as a candidate - this is rarely EVER the case, particularly when it comes to issues related to national security - but the two seem to have diverged to such a degree that they now represent diametrically opposed worldviews.

As I have also said, with the passage (and renewal) of the Patriot Act, and the technological advancement in things like RFID tags and GPS tracking capabilities, the 4th Amendment is an endangered species. Now, we find that the Obama Administration is challenging an appellate court ruling over what the proper legal standard should be when law enforcement decides to track a suspects whereabouts? The court ruled there must be probable cause, now, the Obama Administration is arguing the opposite.

Before I get to some choice clips from Truthdig's Juan Cole, let me provide a little case history first: Back in 2009, the Washington Post reported that while serving as a U.S. attorney during the Bush administration, Christopher Christie tracked the whereabouts of citizens through their cell phones without warrants. The ACLU obtained these documents from the Justice Department in an ongoing lawsuit over cell phone tracking. While the documents reveal 79 such cases on or after Sept. 12, 2001, they do not specify how many of the applications were made during Christie's tenure.

Tracking without a warrant disregards
an internal U.S. Justice Department recommendation that prosecutors obtain probable cause warrants before gathering location data from cell phones. Of the cases in which probable cause wasn't established, documents showed 19 allowed the most precise tracking available. Those cases occurred after the November 2007 Justice Department recommendation that prosecutors seek warrants.

And if that wasn't enough, there was the 2009 revelation that Sprint received 8 million law enforcement requests for GPS location data in just one year.

The government has been arguing, consistently now, that federal law requires judges to approve their applications for location information from cell phone companies - even if the police don't have probable cause to obtain this sensitive information. Courts have the right under statute - and the duty under the Constitution - to demand that the government obtain a search warrant before seizing this private location data.

Mobile phone providers store data about where customers make and receive calls, based on the cell towers the customers' phones used. And that's why the government has been attempting to collect past mobile-phone tracking information. That way they can go back in the past for as long as the cell phone companies keep records.

The ACLU had recently provided documents showing that of the states randomly sampled, New Jersey and Florida used GPS tracking without obtaining probable cause or warrants. Four other states, California, Louisiana, Indiana, Nevada and the District of Columbia reported having obtained GPS data only after showing probable cause.

Those documents were part of the ongoing lawsuit by the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation, in which they argued government tracking without a probable cause or warrant is a violation of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment.

The essential argument by privacy advocates, be it the tracking of a cell phone user, or placing a tracking device in a suspect's vehicle, is that, whether you're driving a car or carrying a cell phone you should not be more susceptible to government surveillance. The idea being, no one wants to feel as if a government agent is following you wherever you go - be it a friend's house, a place of worship, or a therapist's office - and certainly innocent Americans shouldn't have to feel that way.

This argument won the day, at least in this case, as a federal appeals court ruled last year the police can’t covertly track a suspect’s car using a GPS device for an extended period of time without getting a warrant. This ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of a suspected cocaine dealer, saying that the use of a secret GPS tracking device on the man’s vehicle for two months violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Thus the court clearly drew the important distinction between short term monitoring that’s not much different from a police tail and ongoing, secret and ubiquitous tracking.
Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU had rightly argued that it's one thing to note someone’s car location and another to keep hourly data on every single stop you make along a specific route for days or months on end. The government tried to make the case that no such distinction existed.

Now, Obama and Holder want to overturn this CRITICAL ruling protecting the fourth amendment...and worse, we are now at the mercy of a Supreme Court filled with a Federalist Society majority.

But while that case, in the meantime anyway, represented a victory, let's remember that the FBI was found to have illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply by persuading phone companies to provide records.

E-mails obtained by The Washington Post have detailed how counter terrorism officials inside FBI headquarters did not follow their own procedures that were put in place to protect civil liberties. The stream of urgent requests for phone records also overwhelmed the FBI communications analysis unit with work that ultimately was not connected to imminent threats.

I addition, we know that the FBI uses 'dragnet'-style warrantless cell phone tracking

Among the many elements of the Obama administration that have disappointed civil libertarians is its interest in spying on Americans. The Bush administration had instituted massive warrantless wiretapping and gathering of telephone records, with the complicity of most telecom corporations. Those who care about the Bill of Rights had hoped that Eric Holder’s Department of Justice would take a stand for the Fourth Amendment, which should be on the endangered species list along with the golden tree frog and the St. Helena dragonet.

It should be remembered that it is perfectly possible for the police to make a mistake or act maliciously and to monitor someone who is innocent. The ACLU charges that these practices are increasingly common. If police and other security personnel are allowed to engage in domestic surveillance of this sort without a court warrant, they can start following large numbers of innocent people and learn details of their private lives. Just this year, Tacoma, Wash., police engaged in unconstitutional surveillance of anti-war activists, using an employee at a military base, which is even more troubling. Blanket permission for law enforcement to conduct warrantless GPS tracking of activists could reveal their private peccadilloes, which in turn could be used to blackmail them.


Part of what defines public and private is a reasonable citizen’s expectations. You wouldn’t expect all your movements for a month to be public, even if they were in an automobile. It is that understandable expectation of privacy that brings the Fourth Amendment into play. Ginsburg continued, “A reasonable person does not expect anyone to monitor and retain a record of every time he drives his car, including his origin, route, destination, and each place he stops and how long he stays there; rather, he expects each of those movements to remain disconnected and anonymous.” The full court of nine judges upheld the three-judge panel’s decision to throw out the case, which was against nightclub owner Antoine Jones.

The federal rulings so far on GPS tracking have been all over the map, so to speak, and that the Fourth Amendment will meaningfully survive the almost cosmic electronic surveillance capabilities of our burgeoning national security state is not at all clear. So far many of our eminent federal judges seem perfectly content with having police officers sneak around in our driveways, with allowing them to attach tracking devices to our private property, and with permitting them then to monitor everywhere we go and everyone we visit, without a warrant, for months at a time. Judge Ginsburg and two colleagues are so far all that stand in the way of this dystopian future becoming our present reality. Unfortunately, because Obama and Holder disagree with Ginsburg, his principled arguments will prevail only if they are permitted to do so by the likes of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Welcome to Starship Amerika.

I'd also point you to a piece in Computerworld by Darlene Storm. She writes: 

If people can be tagged with a GPS-enabled dart in about a blink, and have no idea their movements on public streets are being tracked, then it seems reasonable that the warrantless surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment. In fact, it sounds a bit like stalking; if permitted to be done without a warrant, then it could easily be done on a large scale and without true suspicion.
Despite three other courts of appeal ruling that law enforcement does not need a warrant to use GPS tracking on a vehicle, the D.C. appellate court did not agree. Inside GNSS reported that the D.C. court of appeal wrote, "Continuous human surveillance for a week would require all the time and expense of several police officers, while comparable photographic surveillance would require a net of video cameras so dense and so widespread as to catch a person's every movement, plus the manpower to piece the photographs together...A reasonable person does not expect anyone to monitor and retain a record of every time he drives his car, including his origin, route, destination, and each place he stops and how long he stays there."


I'm certainly not an attorney, but it seems reasonable to expect the Supreme Court to uphold our Constitution and Fourth Amendment rights, including the right not to worry about warrantless surveillance in the form of GPS tracking when there is not even probable cause. Just because the technology exists does not mean it should be used against the people to invade their privacy as if everyone is a criminal. The next thing you know, the authorities will want warrantless wiretaps to search our email. Oh wait..

What's at stake here is whether it's okay for the government to track the locations of cell phone users without having to demonstrate there's good reason to do so. If we've learned anything post Patriot Act, its that law enforcement and the government do abuse unchecked power, even if only in a small minority of the situations. But to me, that's enough of a reason to require a warrant, period.

As the ACLU points out, "This case is not about protecting criminals. It's about protecting innocent people from unjustified violations of their privacy."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Locational Privacy and Smart Phones

Before I get to the startling news that security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of EVERYWHERE you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronized, let me briefly provide some context. As I have written here before, the fact that Americans are losing their privacy as they travel through public space due to location-based technologies isn't debatable. The question, as is so often the case when it comes to issues at the intersection of privacy and technology, is what kind of say do we have in the matter and what kind of rules are in place protecting our privacy rights?

Now the issue of locational privacy has resurfaced in a way that was just "conspiracy theories" and "worst case scenarios" in the very recent past. In that past, we had services such as EZ Pass (allows you to bypass stopping to pay the bridge toll), Google Latitude, the GPS tracking of cellphones, the right of police and government to track our whereabouts (both by phone and car), transit cards, social networking sites, WiFi networks, and more, all opening up a brave new world of real time, locational tracking of Americans.

But these new Smart Phone revelations take this to another level.

The UK's Guardian reports: The files contained the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program. For some phones, there could be almost a year's worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple's iOS 4 update to the phone's operating system, released in June 2010.

"Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – a jealous spouse, a private detective – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you've been," said Pete Warden, one of the researchers.

Only the iPhone records the user's location in this way, say Warden and Alasdair Allan, the data scientists who discovered the file and are presenting their findings at the Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. "Alasdair has looked for similar tracking code in [Google's] Android phones and couldn't find any," said Warden. "We haven't come across any instances of other phone manufacturers doing this."

Simon Davies, director of the pressure group Privacy International, said: "This is a worrying discovery. Location is one of the most sensitive elements in anyone's life – just think where people go in the evening. The existence of that data creates a real threat to privacy. The absence of notice to users or any control option can only stem from an ignorance about privacy at the design stage."

Indeed it is an important element. I'd point everybody to check out a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in 2009 on the issue of "locational privacy". The report warned that Americans are losing their privacy as they travel through public space due to location-based technologies and services.

As the report detailed
, "Location-based services that transmit, record, and store where a person is—such as EZ Pass, WiFi networks, transit cards, Google Latitude—can be exploited by government, business, or prying ex-lovers to track and reconstruct where people have been as they go about their daily life."

And what of the common response to worries about locational privacy, or other privacy issues in fact, that posits "I'm not doing anything wrong, why should I care?"

EFF lays out the folly of such a knee jerk defense of our ever expanding surveillance state...one that goes beyond the usual concerns of big government or law enforcement overreach:

One answer to this concern is a reminder that there are more subtle reasons for needing privacy. It’s not just the government, or law enforcement, or political enemies you might want to be protected from.

Your employer doesn’t need to know things about whether, when, and where you went to church.
• Your co-workers don’t need to know how late you work or where you shop.
• Your sister’s ex-boyfriend doesn’t need know how often she spends the night at her new boyfriend’s apartment.
Your corporate competitors don’t need to know who your salespeople are talking to.

Now, let's get back to the Guardian piece:

Warden and Allan point out that the file is moved onto new devices when an old one is replaced: "Apple might have new features in mind that require a history of your location, but that's our specualtion. The fact that [the file] is transferred across [to a new iPhone or iPad] when you migrate is evidence that the data-gathering isn't accidental." But they said it does not seem to be transmitted to Apple itself.

The iPhone system, by contrast, appears to record the data whether or not the user agrees. Apple declined to comment on why the file is created or whether it can be disabled.

Warden and Allan have set up a web page which answers questions about the file, and created a simple downloadable application to let Apple users check for themselves what location data the phone is retaining. The Guardian has confirmed that 3G-enabled devices including the iPad also retain the data and copy it to the owner's computer.

If someone were to steal an iPhone and "jailbreak" it, giving them direct access to the files it contains, they could extract the location database directly. Alternatively, anyone with direct access to a user's computer could run the application and see a visualization of their movements.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at the security company Sophos, said: "If the data isn't required for anything, then it shouldn't store the location. And it doesn't need to keep an archive on your machine of where you've been." He suggested that Apple might be hoping that it would yield data for future mobile advertising targeted by location, although he added: "I tend to subscribe to cockup rather than conspiracy on things like this – I don't think Apple is really trying to monitor where users are."

We shouldn't view this as that big of a surprise of course. A study released last year by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts found that mobile social networks are giving data about users' physical locations to tracking sites and other social networking services. Researchers reported that all 20 sites that were studied leaked some kind of private information to third-party tracking sites.

In the study, the researchers looked at the practices of 13 mobile online social networks, including Brightkite, Flickr, Foursquare, Gowalla and Urbanspoon. They also studied seven traditional online social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter, which allow users to access their sites using mobile devices.

In many cases, the data given out contained the user's unique social networking identifier, which could allow third-party sites to connect the records they keep of users' browsing behavior with the their profiles on the social networking sites.

As the report notes, "The combination of location information, unique identifiers of devices, and traditional leakage of other personally identifiable information all conspire against protection of users' privacy."

I addition, we also know that the FBI uses 'dragnet'-style warrantless cell phone tracking. In other words, there are more and more ways, through more and more devices, that can track and store our location, and that data is worth more and more money.

There is some good news to report on this however. Senator Al Franken, who continues to distinguish himself as an excellent Senator on issues related to privacy and the internet, has indicated he's not at all pleased by these revelations about Apple, and could seek a full fledged investigation.

The Senator sent a letter to Apple late Wednesday to question why it included the feature in its software in the first place. The letter reads, “The existence of this information — stored in an unencrypted format — raises serious privacy concerns,” He later emphasized the information — which could be “accurate to 50 meters or less” — also applies to iPhones and iPads owned by children, and could easily be exploited by “criminals and bad actors.”

As reported by Politico, "Franken wants to know why Apple included the feature in the operating system. In a two page letter issued Wednesday, the senator asked Apple to explain why it initiated this tracking process in iOS 4, and why the company “never affirmatively informed [consumers] of the collection and retention of their location data in this manner?”

Franken also asked Jobs to explain whether the location data has been disclosed, and whether the same technology is also included as part of the operating system software that runs on the company’s popular MacBook laptops.

Franken’s letter is significant given lawmakers’ heightened interest in reforming federal laws
on privacy, tracking and surveillance. The issue of mobile phone privacy, in particular, has Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) still working on legislation that could become part of the chamber’s larger effort to set new rules for how and when federal law enforcement can access consumers’ location data.

A constantly monitored citizenry used to conjure up images of totalitarian states - not Google and I-Phones. And granted, now technology does the surveillance — generally in the name of being helpful and entertaining, not to stifle dissent or oppress the public.

This fact does not mean that these technologies can't still be used in ways that do reduce freedoms, do play into the hands of overly aggressive and/or oppressive governments, and does invade privacy by using our private information to maximize corporate profit.

Perhaps its time for a serious conversation about how much of our privacy of movement we want to give up - and how much control do we get over that decision?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

California Reader Privacy Act (and data breach bill) Clears Legislative Hurdle

For a more detailed post on a recently proposed bill in California that would protect digital reader privacy you can go here. I will rehash some of it now for those that haven't been here before...but most important for you to know is the legislation just passed its first major hurdle, as it won approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 4 to 0, with one Republican abstaining. In addition, SB 24 (Simitian), a critical data breach protection bill passed the State Senate. Click here more information about that bill. 

So why do we need to update our laws to protect the privacy of digital readers? Easy...there are NO protections as of yet, so the logic is simple...digital readers should have the same protections as someone that checks out a book from the library (a privacy right still protected, though under a withering Patriot Act assault).

As I wrote last post, as Californians increasingly turn to electronic books and online book services, it is essential to safeguard the reader’s browsing, buying, and viewing information as such details reveal private information about political and religious beliefs, health concerns, and personal lives.

Digital books are now outselling paperbacks on Amazon.com, readers are turning to online services like Google Books, and analysts expect that over 18-million e-readers will be sold in 2012. As companies collect more detailed reader information -- including books browsed, how long a page is viewed, and even the notes written in the margins -- reading records are becoming a larger target for government surveillance.

In other words, without strong privacy protections, all of our browsing and reading history could be collected, analyzed, and turned over to the government or third parties without our knowledge or consent. In light of what has transpired in this country since the Patriot Act, none of this should sound like undue paranoia - its based on a now long history of corporate and governmental abuses of citizen privacy.

We're not talking about just another library mind you - librarians utilize a different standards for dealing with user information than does the online world. Many libraries routinely delete borrower information, and organizations such as the American Library Association have fought hard to preserve the privacy of their patrons in the face of laws such as the U.S. Patriot Act.

The concerns of privacy advocates are not hypothetical. Our country has a long history of government efforts to compel libraries and booksellers to turn over customer records and information. Why would anyone believe, particularly after the warrantless wiretapping scandal, that the government won't ask a company like Google to turn over the treasure trove of private personal information it has on millions of Americans?

The SB 602 Solution

The Reader Privacy Act would ensure that government and third parties cannot access private reading records without proper justification. The bill permits disclosure of personal information related to reading records when an individual consents to the disclosure and where there are exigent circumstances.

In addition, personal information must be shared when a government entity or private party obtains a warrant or court order upon a showing of a compelling interest, and the warrant or order is the least intrusive means to obtain the information desired.

Notice and opportunity to contest the order must be given to the book seller or provider.  In civil cases, the reader would have the notice and opportunity to contest; while in criminal cases, the reader would not be given advance notice. This allows readers the reasonable ability to protect themselves.
The bill would also establish clear rules for businesses and standards for government and third party access to reader records. Under SB 602, consumers will be able to feel comfortable using new digital book services and technology without worrying that their personal information will be unprotected. California should promote the use of new technology by ensuring that upgraded technology does not mean downgraded privacy.

Let me quote the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (a leading advocate for this legislation) Rebecca Jeschke , who wrote, ...the books we choose to read reveal private information about our political and religious beliefs or interests, our health concerns, our financial situation, and our personal and professional lives. Maintaining reader privacy is fundamental to the dignity of Californians, and this principle is well ensconced in state law. However, with the market for digital books exploding, the law needs an update for the 21st Century.

Digital book services, libraries, and bookstores collect far more information than physical bookstores and libraries do. The data can include books browsed, how long a page is viewed, and even the electronic notes written in the margins. It's not hard to see the detailed portrait this could paint of your life. Without legislative protection, that information is a tempting target for the government or other litigants, like those involved in divorce cases, custody battles, or insurance disputes
...Californians should let their state lawmakers know that this bill is key to updating privacy law for the digital age and ask them to support SB 602....

The bill now moves to the State Senate appropriations committee. I'll keep you updated here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Landmark "Do Not Track" Legislation Proposed in California

Some real good news to report. Yesterday I was at the state capitol and had the opportunity to attend the press conference announcing a new bill being proposed by State Senator Alan Lowenthal - and sponsored by Consumer Watchdog - that will allow consumers in the state to stop unwanted online tracking.

First, if you want to read a more extensive description of what is called behavioral marketing, as well as the federal legislation being proposed to address it, just read my previous blog (and many others I've done). 

For today's purposes, let's get right back to the good news. The bill, SB 761, would offer consumers a "Do Not Track Me" mechanism, something the bill's sponsor describe as "one of the most powerful tools available to protect consumers' privacy. The mechanism will allow anyone online to send Websites the message that they do not want their online activity monitored.

The bill is the first in California to explicitly provide for a Do Not Track mechanism. It is modeled after a federal Do Not Track bill introduced in Congress by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA - legislation I have lauded and discussed on this blog recently. While the speakers at the press conference expressed optimism the federal legislation will ultimately pass, they said there is no reason to delay protections for citizens of California.

A poll by Consumer Watchdog last summer found that 80% of Americans support a Do Not Track option. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that most Americans are worried about their privacy and security when they use Facebook and Google.

I have talked about this interesting dichotomy a lot. This being the fact that while people see to "care" about privacy on one level, they tend to do very little to actually do so. Which in my mind, makes easy to use, clear options to protect privacy all the more paramount. Once people are given such a choice, not only will more people choose to "not be tracked", I think more people will become more AWARE of just how all pervasive such monitoring of nearly everything we do has become.

As noted in the press release from Consumer Watchdog, there no longer is any anonymity on the Web. The most personal information about people's online habits is collected and eventually bought and sold, often instantaneously and invisibly. Data collection practices have become a business in themselves, driven by profits at consumers' expense. The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted these practices—which included targeting children—in its groundbreaking series "What They Know."

I can vouch, personally, for Senator Lowenthal too. He's been a consumer stalwart in the legislature, even receiving our organizations "consumer hero" award. Here's a few of his comments about the bill and why he's authoring it:

Nearly 80% of Californians use the internet and nearly 45% use Facebook — including myself. But, today millions of Californians are unaware that their online behavior is being tracked; their data collected and sold to advertisers..The type of data that is collected is far reaching. Anywhere from the type of sites a person frequents, to the time of day and the location from where the person is accessing the sites. Most disturbing, however, is that the information that is being shared may include very personal information such as a name, home address, email address, or financial information.

I'd also point you to two more comments regarding this bill that add some more context. 

James P. Steyer, Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media: "In our recent Common Sense survey, 85% of parents said they are more concerned about online privacy than they were five years ago, and 75% of parents said they don’t think social networking sites do a good job of protecting children’s online privacy. It’s important to see California leaders taking a stand to protect online privacy, especially for kids and teens."

Beth Givens, Privacy Rights Clearing House Director:
"A Do Not Track Me mechanism gives consumers a simple way to tell websites not to spy on them and not to collect detailed profiles of their web usage. Consumers should have the right to control how their data is used or whether it is gathered at all."

Also of note, and a smart strategy being utilized by Consumer Watchdog, was their personal letter to Google's new CEO urging the company take the lead by supporting the legislation. Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court and John M. Simpson, director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group's Privacy Project, wrote: 

"Eric Schmidt's tenure as CEO was marked by a series of privacy gaffes. We hope yours will begin with a landmark endorsement of a new privacy right for consumers online that shows freedom of information and personal privacy are not incompatible." 

"As you are aware, online commerce relies on consumer trust.  Sadly, much of the current Internet business model is based on invasive and pervasive tracking of consumers' online activities without their knowledge or control. This should not be the business model of a company whose motto is 'Don't Be Evil.' Do Not Track legislation would give consumers meaningful protection and control.  It would build their confidence in the Internet – a win, win situation for business and consumer."

To get a feel for the press coverage of the bill, check out the article in the San Francisco Chronicle today. Here's a few choice clips from the piece...in fact, notice my organization being mentioned (though they got our name slightly wrong) as one of the key supporters:

An array of Internet firms like Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. collect data about users' online behavior to serve up the sort of advertisements they're most likely to click on. The information generally isn't connected to actual names, but the practice has nonetheless grown increasingly controversial, as it's become clear how much data is gathered and how much it reveals.

A number of advocacy groups are backing the bill, including Consumer Watchdog, Privacy Rights Clearing House, Common Sense Media and the California Consumer Federation.


If the bill is approved, all connected devices would be affected, including personal computers, tablets, smart phones and Internet TVs. This would seem to require technical updates to an array of existing gadgets, including millions of Apple Inc. iPhones already in circulation.

Internet browser makers Microsoft and the Mozilla Foundation have already begun to build Do Not Track features into the latest versions of their products, suggesting companies could achieve compliance through software updates. When flipped on, these existing tools simply send a signal to websites when a user first arrives, saying they don't want their activity monitored.

Google, for its part, offers a downloadable extension that blocks the installation of many ad technologies for its Chrome browser. The shortcoming of the browser-based Do Not Track tools, besides not appearing on all devices, is that ad companies don't have any obligation to abide by these stated preferences. A number of marketing companies have begun working with the browser makers on voluntary solutions, but they remain just that.

A growing number of legislators, regulators and consumer advocates argue that individuals should, at least, have the legal right to remove themselves from this tracking if they want to.

Click here to read more.

For my more detailed thoughts on this topic, and why its so important to give people MORE control over their data and their privacy, I would again point you to my previous post, particularly the conclusion.