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David Sparks Ph.d Watching the Internet
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: December 06, 2017

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This is not exactly a story that is restricted to the agricultural community but it certainly applies to those of you who may be living in rural settings and, because of your location or your incredible workload on your farm or ranch, you can’t just dash off to the mall when you need to update your wardrobe or kitchen appliances or, for that matter, your professional equipment. Given that we are all deeply immersed in a high tech world, often times we turn to our laptops or smart phones to make online purchases. I’ve done a few stories on data breaches such as the Equifax debacle in the past few months and it has been revealed that your personal information may have been seriously compromised which could lead to a variety of identity theft nightmares.

Well, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) is playing a major hand before Congress on this issue. He recently addressed his colleagues.

"The goal for this hearing is to help provide all Americans with a better understanding of how their data flows online, how online platforms and online media sources determine what they see or don’t see, and the extent of and methods by which their information is collected and used by online firms.” Americans should be able to feel confident that their well-being, freedom of expression, and access to the content of their choice are not being wholly sacrificed for profit. Americans should have vibrant, competitive markets both offline and online, where consumers know their rights and options, and have the freedom to choose what is best for their circumstances. Specifically, the Energy and Commerce Committee has examined how companies’ algorithms, and decisions about personal data and online content, are impacting consumers. This hearing comes as the Committee is continuing to investigate the massive Equifax data breach, which compromised the personal information of over 145 million Americans.

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