The article discusses private data collection on muni Wi-Fi networks that are being constructed via the RFP process. It looks specifically at San Francisco where Google and Earthlink have teamed together on an RFP response for that city. Chester writes:
Unless municipal leaders object, citizens and visitors will be subjected to intensive data-mining of their web searches, e-mail messages and other online activities are tracked, profiled and targeted. The inevitable consequences are an erosion of online privacy, potential new threats of surveillance by law enforcement agencies and private parties, and the growing commercialization of culture.
According to the artilce, Earthlink works with DoubleClick, a company that “collects and analyzes enormous amounts of information online to engage in individual interactive ad targeting.” Earthlink is one of two finalists for creating the Wi-Fi network here in Minneapolis.
So are our municipal leaders making sure that I’m not subjected to intensive data-mining?
From the standpoint of a public service, I don’t think we want to create a network (free or otherwise) that is an “ecommerce stomping ground,” feeding us constant and annoying advertising and harvesting as much of our private data as it can? The City Council should make sure there are limits and should push for an ‘opt-in’ system that lets the consumer make the choice.