Do business, hackers and government know too much?


Concerns are growing among consumers, watchdog groups and lawmakers over whether Americans’ personal online data is safe. The issue was thrust into the spotlight with Edward Snowden’s revelations last year of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance efforts. It continued with news of a data breach at the Target department-store chain that was among the largest in corporate history. The White House, Congress and state governments have responded to the public concerns, as has the private sector to a lesser extent. The Obama administration recently conducted a review of how business and government mine “big data” and proposed several new laws and amendments to others. Congress also is taking steps to rein in the NSA’s power and exploring other private-sector solutions. At least 19 states are considering measures to further protect data privacy.

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