The biggest privacy scandals of 2013

2013 was the year we finally got what we've all been waiting for: Real privacy rights across the Net. It was long overdue.

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In consumer privacy news, researchers at Stanford unearthed a series of confidential memos between executives in the Internet advertising and data mining industries. The documents revealed how none of them ever had any intention of complying with the FTC’s Do Not Track directives; instead, they conspired to string out the process as long as possible in the hope that a new administration would be elected in 2012 and the entire matter shelved.

After Obama was re-elected and adoption of third-party anti-tracking products reached record levels, the ad industry was forced to admit defeat and meekly comply with FTC guidelines regarding consumer choice, resulting in revenue losses of nearly 0.03 percent.

As long predicted, surveillance drone technology became inexpensive enough for daily use by local police and private parties. This however, was matched by the appearance of anti-drone surface-to-air missiles that could be controlled via an iPhone app. As an air war raged above the skies of American cities, most municipalities agreed to ban the use of the unmanned vehicles for all but emergency rescue scenarios.

Other big headlines: In an 140-character press release last July, Twitter announced it had applied for membership in the United Nations. Google agreed to take over management of the NSA’s new Data Center in the Utah desert, saying it already indexed most of the information that’s stored inside it. And in November, Mark Zuckerberg quietly deleted his own Facebook account, saying he was tired of having his News Feed polluted with ads and inane BS from people he’d never met.

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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