July 23, 2013, 10:36 AM — For more than a decade we've been hearing that privacy is dead, especially when it comes to online privacy. It's hard to argue with the evidence.
Law enforcement agencies routinely obtain location and call data from wireless carriers -- some 1.3 million times in 2011 alone, according to documents obtained by a U.S. Senate committee. Thanks to laws written when fax machines were considered high-tech, government agencies can access data from cloud storage with minimal judicial oversight. And with potential laws like the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), Congress wants to enable private companies to share even more customer data with Uncle Sam.
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The government is not alone. Virtually every commercial website (including the one you are now reading) deposits cookies that track your movements online. The number of trackers has more than doubled in a year, while advertisers and advocates continue to argue over the definition of terms like "tracking" and "choice." When consumers try to block tracking, companies like Google manage to find ways around it.