A column by David Lazarus (formerly of the SF Chronicle) in the Los Angeles Times raises a privacy issue that has not been much discussed. The money saving deals on purchasing telephone, Internet access, and cable television from the same provider are attractive to many consumers. Few people, however, read the long, tedious privacy policies the providers send them. According to Lazarus, these policies allow companies like Times Warner to share information about the viewing and purchasing habits of subscribers. What a mass of information these companies collect–what TV shows you watch, what websites you visit–these can give companies a good idea of the kind of products and services you might want to purchase. Putting all your communication eggs in one basket may allows a company to know more about you than your best friend does. Is that a good idea?
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