"Wittingly or not, people pay a price in reduced privacy for the information and services they receive online," The Wall Street Journal contends in its "What They Know" series, which includes a study of 50 popular Web sites that track user visits and a feature on the economic factors behind privacy decisions. While users are not identified by name, certain tracking files predict ages, zip codes, gender, estimated income, marital status, presence of children and home ownership, the report states. "Unfortunately, most Web users really have no idea how their data is being shared and used; the 'notice-and-consent' model has failed consumers," Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy and Technology told the Daily Dashboard, noting that while some online companies are working to be more transparent about data sharing, there is a need for "baseline privacy legislation to ensure that everyone is adhering to basic rules to allow consumers to exercise control over their privacy." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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