Team Obama Looks To Create Internet Privacy Watchdog

Good idea? Bad idea?

The Obama administration is preparing a stepped-up approach to policing Internet privacy that calls for new laws and the creation of a new position to oversee the effort, according to people familiar with the situation.

The strategy is expected to be unveiled in a report being issued by the U.S. Commerce Department in coming weeks, these people said. The report isn’t yet final and could change, these people said.

The initiatives would mark a turning point in Internet policy. Recent administrations typically steered away from Internet regulations out of concern for stifling innovation. But the increasingly central role of personal information in the Internet economy helped spark government action, according to people familiar with the situation.

Joe Barton (R-Tx) is quoted in the article as being for this, due to all the privacy concerns, and actual incidents, that keep popping their ugly heads up. And, yes, this would be something that the federal government should oversee, rather than the State governments (though, they can implement their own laws, too), as this is national and international “commerce.” Yet, should there be a concern about government becoming overly involved?

Obviously, I would be concerned with giving any liberal/progressive oversight power, as they so often have ulterior motives, much like with Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They’ll say all the right things, and sound so agreeable, but, behind the scenes, they open up destructive cans of worms.

Yet, regardless of which party controls the presidency and/or Congress, there is a large chance of mission creep, with more and more restriction being added as time goes on. Like with so much regulation, one tiny thing happens, and now lawmakers want a big law to stop it from ever happening again.

Do people need better privacy protection? Yes. Should the federal government make the rules? That’s a tough one, because we all know that it wouldn’t stop there. If you want to protect your privacy on-line, your best defense is……you! The Electronic Frontier Foundation has 12 ways to protect yourself. These are mostly easy to understand methods, because, face it, not everyone is super duper computer/Internet savvy.

You can certainly find other lists and ideas, here are a few from me, more along the lines of software

  1. Make sure you have a good firewall, and keep it updated. I actually have 3. I use the built in Microsoft one, there is one in the modem (which I have zero control of, Time Warner administers for all customers), and with my Symantic program (which is actually military grade). I would highly suggest Zone Alarm, which is free, for those who aren’t sure if they are protected. It’s one of the best you can get
  2. Get an anti-virus program. A good one. That you pay for. That has auto-update and install capability. Better yet, get a suite, which would include anti-virus, spyware, online protection, and firewall. Like Norton Internet Security or McAfee Total Protection
  3. Install a spyware removal program, keep it up to date, and use it at least every other week. Ad Aware is a great one, as is Spyware Terminator, and Spyware Doctor. I prefer Spyware Terminator, as it is free and gives real time protection. None are perfect, though, so run a check now and then!
  4. Encrypt your files and folders which contain private/personal/sensitive data! I use two programs. The first is Kruptos 2 Professional, which would cost you $12.99. The great thing about Kruptos is that you encrypt the program, open the file with a password, and, here’s the kicker, when you close it it re-encrypts automatically! No playing around, no manual encrypts, creating fake “disks”, etc. The other is My Lockbox. You can only hide one folder, but, I put several files and folders underneath the top folder. Like all my tax returns and two files with all my codes. You can also use Iron Privacy Folder. This is a very basic measure, designed to simply hide folders, and won’t defeat serious, let’s call them….. a**holes who know what they are doing. Most won’t take the time. Yes, hackers and such do want in to those files and folders. Note: Iron Privacy is not for Windows 7, which is why I use My Lockbox.
  5. Secure your home (and business, if it is in your control) WiFi with a password.

A great place to check software and reviews, and download both free and paid, is CNET.

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5 Responses to “Team Obama Looks To Create Internet Privacy Watchdog”

  1. gitarcarver says:

    After years of use with Zone Alarm, and a rumored change of AVG going to a pay only model, (which never occurred) I switched to Comodo Internet Suite.

    I have never looked back. The Comodo Firewall is slightly higher rated than the Zone Alarm one and the anti virus is rated as one of if the best of all free antivirus programs. (Panda usually beats it out.)

    With the new Comodo version of 4.0 came a “sandbox mode” which is outstanding if you test a lot of freeware or shareware programs.

    Comodo is a great free option and I personally like the all in one approach.

    Their cleaner and restore programs are top notch as well.

  2. Good info to know, GT. I have a buddy who is Army Reserve who got me a copy of of their Symantic suite, lifetime free 🙂

  3. bonafide says:

    Don’t need most of these, although I do use adaware… 🙂 I use a Mac and don’t have many of these problems… 🙂

  4. Yeah, yeah, rub it in our faces.

    I’ve thought about getting one, but, I have way too many programs that only run on Windows. Sigh.

  5. gitarcarver says:

    I use a Mac

    You have my deepest sympathies. 😉

    don’t have many of these problems… 🙂

    The difference between Windows virus and Mac virus is one of scale – not the absence of Mac viruses. More people have Windows based systems and it makes more sense for people to attack where there are more targets.

    If you look at percentage of market and percent of attacks, Macs actually have slightly higher attack rates than Windows.

    Macs’ started strong on the west coast and that has always remained the strongest geographical base. PC based systems were typically more mid west and east coast.

    Macs are definitely big with creative types. Artists, designers, musicians, etc, generally work with Macs. Everyone else works with Windows (or Linux).

    PC’s are generally cheaper to purchase and cheaper to upgrade. Dollar for dollar, PC’s are more powerful on low ends systems and equal on upper end systems.

    All that being said, Macs are aesthetically beautiful machines. I believe that if you want looks, the Mac is the way to go. If you want performance, upgradability, and price, Windows based PCs are a better choice.

    The bottom line is what people like and are used to. There are always going to be those that switch but for the most part, if you start on a Mac, you are going to be loyal to Macs. If you start on a PC, you are going to continue to buy a PC.

    The rivalry and passion of both user groups is astounding to me. In some ways, it is almost “cultish.”

    The bottom line is whatever works and whatever a person likes is the way for them to go. 🙂

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