No. 1 tech story of 2011: The war for control of the Internet (and your data)

From net neutrality to CarrierIQ to Twitter subpoenas, the battle over digital rights and privacy rages on

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Google, the company that loves the "creepy" line of privacy policy, settled with the FTC in March for no fine and agreed to "privacy audits" for the next 20 years.

* Companies that store mobile device user location tracking data vs. smartphone users who had no idea they were being tracked and privacy advocates who apparently haven't heard that Mark Zuckerberg's New Privacy Rule has rendered their jobs obsolete.

In April both Apple and Google were busted for collecting data about the location of Android, iPhone and iPad users without their permission. They didn't mean it. It was an accident. It won't happen again. Trust us. Trust us. Trust us.

* Carrier IQ and most of the mobile device industry vs. people who didn't know the Carrier IQ software on more than 140 million handsets worldwide was recording their keystroke data and web browsing history. Fortunately for these people whose data, including SMS message contents, was being logged, Carrier IQ assured them that their information was safe in its hands. Trust us.

* Supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) -- including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America -- vs. free speech and rights advocacy groups as well as others who think it's not such as great idea for the U.S. government and copyright holders to shut down web sites accused -- merely accused! -- of infringement. Proponents of the legislation dismiss concerns about SOPA being abused as "myths" and assure us they won't abuse the power vested in them should the bill become law. This battle will continue into the new year.

* Wikipedia, Anonymous, OccupyWallStreet and other opponents of abusive power vs. governments and corporations around the world that fear the power of the Internet even as they attempt to harness that power to increase their own.

In January, the Egyptian government shut down the Internet and ordered mobile phone operators to suspend service in the face of fierce street protests. The action was brief and futile. In February and March, Libya followed suit in an effort to quell the revolution that eventually cost longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi his life.

Under pressure from the U.S.

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