What Are The Yanks Up To?

What are the Yanks up to? It seems their major companies – Facebook, Google, Intel and others – are intent on collecting as much  data on individuals as they can and using it to sell advertising to people. And that’s whether or not people consent to have their data collected, and whether or not people want the advertising.

Europe is now planning a co-ordinated response to Google’s data collection practices.

The French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et de Libertes (CNIL) says it, and other European privacy regulators, want ‘repressive’ action against Google for failing to respond adequately to questions put to Google by the 27 European privacy regulators.

The main thing is that the regulators want easier ways for people to tell Google it does not want data collected by Google to be used to target advertisements at them.

Regulators are particularly concerned that Google intends to put together information gained from different services it owns – like G-mail and YouTube to target individuals more effectively.

The 27 regulators would like to organise a concerted world approach to the issues. There will be a vote on whether to take the repressive actions against Google before the end of the month.

European Parliament wants to give European citizens the ability to block or control targeted advertising and online Web tracking not just by Google but by the whole US technology industry.

The US tech industry is mounting a massive lobbying effort to get these proposals dropped or watered down and the US DoC is lobbying on behalf of the US tech industry.

According to Ben Wizner, a lawyer involved in the case, the US does not have general data protection laws like we have in Europe – merely specific protection for things like medical and financial information.

 Otherwise companies can try to find out anything they want about individuals.

 The EU proposal is that companies could not collect data on individuals unless the individuals gave their explicit consent.

 Furthermore, businesses would have to remove personal data they had collected upon the request of an individual.

 National regulators would be able to fine companies up to 2% of annual sales for failing to comply.

Before Christmas the US Ambassador to the EU argued that individuals should not have to give their explicit consent to having information about them collected by companies.

The proposals under consideration by the European Parliament and 27 European Justice Ministers should be drafted by April and then go for legislation coming into force next year.

Last week Intel said it would sell a set top box which would watch to see who was watching a TV and be able to identify them and then target adverstisements at them.



  1. It was after the afternoon session at an IEF event in Budapest. The hotel’s beer prices made London’s hotels look cheap so we went out and found a nice looking bar next to the castle with good beer. First pint went ok so we ordered another just as it started filling up. Then someone noticed that the ‘ladies’ that had come in were a) offering their services and b) might have something extra one wouldn’t expect in the nether regions.

  2. Well it’s not me, if that’s what you’re thinking Mr C.

  3. Come on Mike there must be a good story to be told? Don’t tell me that we have a cross dresser in our midst?

  4. Well the girl I was talking to told me she was a member of the Hungarian Royal Family, Mike, and should be addressed as ‘Princess’. Princesses are pretty classy in my book.

  5. Does that transgender bar in Budapest count as classy ? 🙂

  6. Those Dublin bars were personally recommended to me by a Dublin-er who is the landlord of The Eight Bells in Ewell, Mike, but I have to admit I have benefited from the semiconductor industry’s penchant for classy watering holes.

  7. One thing I’ve found really annoying is even when you go through Google’s opt-out regime, another new company appears the next day offering you the same targetted spam. With my regular sites I’ve got my browser tuned to reject the ads (including yours DM – maybe that’s why I get so many Content Submission Error messages) but it’s a pain to add new sites to it.
    The EU should just go the whole hog and ban all adverts we haven’t asked to see. That will mess up Google’s financial model once and for all 🙂

  8. oh come on David – it’s always amazed me that you always seem to know some of the best restaurants and bars (vice versa in Dublin) in every city in Europe, and every area of London. You don’t learn that on your salary 🙂

  9. Unless they’re very well disguised, Mr C, the denizens of The Wheatsheaf are not financial wizards. But, come to think of it, if I were a City Financial Wizard these days, I would wear a disguise in public. And what better disguise than trainers, sports pants, scruffy anoraks and unending mindless wittering about footie? I shall have to investigate further.

  10. Mr M you’ve been talking to Mrs C again?
    I might get out but my area of the UK is called “Land of the Living Dead” at least you are in London rubbing shoulders with all the Financial wizards and cocktail parties every night.
    There were actually more interesting offers from Russian ladies but as this is a family show…………

  11. Crikey. A bloody nightmare, SEPAM, but a well-written one. Yes, this is what those socially maladjusted CEOs of Silicon Valley have in mind for us.They sit on eachothers’ boards, visit eachothers’ houses, think alike, love Ayn Rand, and are horribly wrong-headed.

  12. Some of that stuff sounds quite interesting, Mr C, but then maybe I don’t get out as much as you.

  13. Also deserving of a mention in the spying business are Apple, whose iPhone was the subject of controversy when it was found that it logged GPS data showing everywhere you’d been and then transferred this to your computer when the phone was connected.

  14. If it cuts down my spam (Black dating,Woodwork plans,Facebook dating app,Lasik Vision,Jewish dating,hair secrets, etc) then I will vote for it.

  15. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

    Irony 1: That European countries are offended private companies intrude on their prerogative of collecting information on the people.
    Irony 2: That an American wrote this:

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