The Center for Digital Democracy

Have you ever had that feeling that a digital company has gone a bit too far in targeting you and your “private” information? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Chances are, the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) is there to fight for your right to have you private information stay private. The CDD was founded in 2001, but its work was started in the early nineties when the Center for Media Education was founded to promote “greater public participation in media and telecommunications issues.”

The CDD was formally launched in 2001, and has played a major role in developing the campaign for an open broadband Internet, helping educate the public about the plans of the phone and cable companies to operate a more tightly-controlled broadband system and leading the efforts at the Federal Trade Commission to promote new policies governing online privacy and responsible interactive marketing. The CDD has also served as an “early warning” system for journalists, policymakers and the public about emerging public interest issues.

If companies begin to implement practices that use Facebook’s Open Graph, you can bet the CDD will be knocking on the doors of Facebook, speaking out for the consumer. In the age of social media, the idea of privacy has gone out of the window, and the CDD is aiming to protect the little amount that we have left. The CDD believes that the Internet should be a democracy, especially in a democratic state. Consumers should have the right to choose whether their information can be collected and their online actions be tracked.

So how does this all relate to Facebook’s Open Graph? It’s simple. The CDD is trying to inform the public about the dangers of allowing companies and organizations access information along the Open Graph without any sort of rules and regulation that is required for democratic societies. The CDD is currently working with the FTC to protect the privacy of consumers by limiting the amount of data being collected. In short, the FTC’s bill aims to “enact legislation to rein in the data broker industry” in an effort to curb the selling and collecting of valuable data, including financial habits and health interests. While the FTC is working towards controlling data collection, the CDD believes the FTC still isn’t doing enough. The CDD is trying to get the FTC to explain in specifics how consumers can choose to control the collection and use of their information, rather than putting the Do-Not-Track icon on a website that the consumer has to click on.

Facebook isn’t the only company that the CDD is after. It is putting pressure on Google to explain why there was such a drastic change to its privacy policy. The Internet giant has yet to come out and explicitly explain that the policy changed to make it easier companies to track and learn about its users. The CDD believes that Google and Facebook are both suffering from poor leadership by not coming out and admitting the reasons for the privacy, or lack there of, policies.

The CDD isn’t going away and neither are its goals. In fact it is probably going to become even more involved in digital democracy and legislation as Open Graph becomes more prevalent. The CDD will continue to push for the right of consumers to choose whether their information and be used for purposes other than what it was originally intended. As Open Graph becomes more popular, consumers also going to become more aware, causing a need for an organization to be there to defend them to the Washington and corporate bigwigs. Until then, the CDD will continue its fight to bring digital consumer privacy to the forefront of American minds and stop its mining before the idea of privacy is gone.



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