I haven’t read the 77-page report document yet, but considering the FISA Act telecom-immunity rubber-stamp handover the Democrats (including Senator Barack Obama) they gave the grossly authoritarian Republicans, I’d say yes they are. And considering reports of the NSA and FBI tapping directly into main telecom communication interconnects (or similar mass surveillance measures), one might consider it a slam dunk. But consider that online search engines and their ilk -including Googe but not limited to- Big Brother prospects are ‘a good investment’.
The increased monitoring and profiling of Internet users by companies such as Google and its DoubleClick online advertising subsidiary is widely seen as one of the biggest threats to online privacy. But in reality, said university professor Paul Ohm, the potential for the same kind of activities by ISPs poses a much greater privacy risk.
Ohm, an associate professor of law at the University of Colorado Law School, published a research paper titled “The Rise and Fall of Invasive ISP Surveillance” late last month. The 77-page document chronicles the different market pressures and technology advances that are shaping the behavior of ISPs and warns of “a coming storm of unprecedented and invasive” surveillance of users by such companies.
It isn’t an opinion that is shared by everyone, but the issue has been getting an increasing amount of attention from privacy advocates and lawmakers.
Much of Ohm’s concern has to do with the vantage point that ISPs have on the Web and their ability to take advantage of it in a hitherto unprecedented manner. In many ways, ISPs are far more able to track, monitor and profile user behavior than Google and other online advertising vendors are, he said in an interview.
“I’m not saying that they are invading your privacy right now,” Ohm said. “What the paper does is to play out the possibilities. ISPs have the power to obliterate privacy.”