The Wall Street Journal has been on a roll, looking at privacy online. The [latest article looks at the trackers, bugs, beacons, and cookies](http://blogs.wsj.com/wtk/) used by various websites to monitor you (and then share that data). For example, the simple site dictionary.com tracks a fair bit of data about visitors:

Screen shot 2010-08-04 at 11.22.37 AM.png

***234*** activity trackers. To look up the definition of a word.

WhatTheyKnow.jpg

(via [information aesthetics](http://infosthetics.com/archives/2010/08/what_they_know_how_websites_expose_visitors_to_monitoring.html))

I'm wondering what it's going to take before we have some form of regulatory oversight on what is allowed to be collected, by whom, and how (if at all) it is allowed to be shared. We've stumbled our way into an extremely invasive and pervasive culture of active and passive monitoring of everything we do online. And since we do much of our communication and other activities online, it affects a significant portion of our lives. But we don't seem to know or care...

If any government agency had proposed building a system capable of monitoring this much information about citizens, there would have been an uproar.

Oh. Wait. No, there wouldn't. But people would have **totally** changed their Twitter avatars or something...