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Privacy: Who Owns It?

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It is a rare event for any UK newspaper, especially one as old as The Observer (, to dedicate most of its Editorial to the subject of Privacy and for much of that to online privacy.
I wrote to The Editor on Monday asking if The Observer would begin a national campaign to change the law but as yet I have had no response.
My view is clear, it is wrong of Facebook and Google and all the other online companies - though these two seem to be in danger of becoming serial offenders - in the way they use our own intellectual property rights. What has happened is we, you and me, have given away our rights and details for nothing. We have signed this away because we often tick the “Agree” button without actually reading the 60 pages which followed and so we have no idea what “Agree” actually means. In short, we have agreed to allow these companies to sell our biographies and sales patterns (behavioural) to advertisers without our knowledge.
The way forward is to agree (!) that every citizen owns his or her intellectual property rights and that these are sacrosanct. Citizens can sell there IP to Facebook and Google but at a fee or a donation to a charity.
More and more we need a place where these issues and others can be fully researched and papers placed into the public domain – in short, we need an Internet Policy Centre for the world.


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