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Obama's Privacy Bill of Rights

How the White House wants to protect Americans from intrusive data gathering. Plus, Mexico City's first innovation center, and the rest of the day's news.
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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.

White House to push privacy bill. The Obama administration will ask Congress today to pass online privacy legislation—reflecting "a shifting attitude by the government, which for more than a decade favored a hands-off approach to the Internet," the Wall Street Journal reports. The bill comes on the heels of a Commerce Department report highlighting the growing concern about Internet privacy. Larry Strickling, head of the department's telecom arm, said any legislation should have three parts: it should established a privacy bill of rights outling basic levels of protections, it should ensure the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to enforce the expectations, and it should offer incentives to online companies who comply with the rules. The administration could take it a step further by giving consumers the right to access information about themselves that's been collected online. Surprisingly, a group of 30 online-advertising companies said they would break from the rest of the industry to support the measure.

The Google police are after you. But only if you advertise counterfeit or illegal products, that is. In an effort to combat ads for illegal services, Fast Company reports that Google is tightening its advertising policies. Perhaps most importantly, the company will work "more closely with brand owners to identify infringers and, when appropriate, expel them from the AdSense program," according to a recent company blog post. Given the immense size of Google, it's not hard to be skeptical of the new policies. "Google acts to take down the offenders when it identifies them, but there's no quick and easy answer--it's a game of cat and mouse," FastCo notes. "Every time Google takes down an offending ad on its AdWords system, new ones will pop up, just as every time it tweaks its security policy, counterfeiters will find new loopholes."

Mexico City: Hot new innovation hub? Brushing off concerns about violence, IBM has opened an innovation center in the heart of Mexico's bloody drug war. The firm hopes the new center in Mexico City will "become a magnet for local start-ups, venture capitalists, developers and academics who will focus on the intersection of technology and industries such as banking, communications, healthcare, retail and government," according to VentureBeat. IBM's innovation centers speckle the globe across 32 countries, part of the firm's push to spark innovation and commerce in underserved areas. In the past two years, more than 200 new Mexican companies have become IBM business partners.

Is Groupon ruining retailing? That's what serial entrepreneur Jay Goltz is pondering. Writing in the New York Times, he says Groupon, and the hundreds of other daily deal sites chasing it, are training people to expect they can get a coupon for almost anything. That kind of thinking can prove fatal to a small-business owner's bottom line. Goltz breaks it down for us with some clever math here.

Twitter ups security. To ward off cyber criminals, the microblogging service just made it possible for members to use a more secure, encrypted HTTPS connection. The protocol prevents hacking malware from siphoning logins and other sensitive information, according to the Huffington Post. Twitter is working to make it the default setting, but for now, users can manually enable it via the "Settings" page. "After all, if Ashton Kutcher's account can be compromised (as it was several weeks ago), it could happen to you."

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Last updated: Mar 16, 2011




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