Here is how Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, describes the current state of affairs on the Internet: "Say I’m walking through a mall. And there’s a guy following me. He doesn't know my name, but he knows where I live, and he knows I'm carrying an American Express card, because I used it in the last store I visited, and he knows I'm looking for a madras jacket with yellow and red in it, and he's sending signals about me to the stores in front of me. If he's following me, that’s troubling. If he's following my daughter, I want to punch him out. That's what’s going on on the Internet. People are being tracked. And consumers have no idea this is happening."
That is why the FTC has proposed a "do not track" option, which would give Web surfers the ability to block so-called tracking cookies. These are little bits of software code that advertisers embed into your computer to keep track of which websites you visit.
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