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Compelling reasons why you should you care about online surveillance

Although a number of reasons why any online consumer in California or elsewhere should be concerned with unknown eyes watching his or her online interactions come immediately to the fore, there is probably one reason that stands above all others.

And that is this: because you are -- for sure -- being watched.

That unassailable Internet reality undoubtedly strikes legions of users as being more than a bit creepy.

And, additionally, it likely incites indignation and anger. When you turn on the computer to engage in business matters, social-related activities and to peruse the news, you probably feel a certain entitlement, namely, that you have a reasonable right to privacy.

Online monitoring companies don't feel the same way.

In fact, some of them make a fortune from selling online information relevant to you and millions of other consumers to myriad third parties intent on using it in varied ways.

Some want you to join a certain group. Others want to see you shopping at certain outlets.

And some want to know more about the sites you've been visiting and the things you've been doing online for their potential relevance in criminal matters.

Online surveillance of Americans is big business, with monitoring companies having long hawked their findings to law enforcement agencies willing to shell out money for a closer look at data that millions of consumers think is private.

Most decidedly, much of what users think is off limits to third-party scrutiny is, well, anything but.

Facebook executives now say that their company has had enough of snoop-and-sell business strategies that put users' data squarely before law enforcers for leisured scrutiny and potential criminal action. Facebook states that from now on it will bar any company that trolls its site for info that can be subsequently sold/used for criminal surveillance.

It remains to be seen precisely how Facebook will ensure its no-surveillance policy and what actions it will take against subscribers that violate its user protocols.

Although such things are presently a bit murky, what is clear is that the attempt to curb such activities will undoubtedly be met by massive public approval. Moreover, it can certainly be seen as a necessary step in curbing the persistent encroachment on privacy rights and expectations that is a byproduct of non-stop technological development.

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