Showing its concern for our privacy and its own general competence, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appointed D. Reed Freeman, a Vice President of Claria, to its Privacy Advisory Committee. Did you catch my sarcasm in that first phrase? What bonehead federal official thought that a Vice President of the company formerly known as Gator would be a good candidate to advise the DHS on computer privacy? Oh yeah, it was Nuala O'Connor Kelly, the Chief Privacy Officer for DHS, who apparently doesn't have a clue about the nature of her job. According to his bio on Claria's site, D. Reed Freeman "is responsible for the company's compliance with Federal Trade Commission, state, and international regulatory requirements, and for working with key industry leaders, regulators, and legislators to develop a regulatory regime that fosters the responsible growth of the new and promising adware industry." The concept of a growing adware industry is going to keep me up nights. The fact of a Claria official, whose work involves figuring out just how far Claria can go in subverting privacy before it butts against federal and state laws, being appointed to a DHS committee makes me believe we are all doomed. If you are an appalled as I am, you can e-mail the department at privacydhs.gov, or give them a call at 202-772-9848. Although considering their take on privacy, I recommend you use a pay phone.
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