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We live in a country where our personal information is not secure. So, if that’s the way it is, I prefer my own government rather than Facebook have my information. You see, Government will not sell my private material, Facebook already has. Government protects my privacy, Facebook profits by it. Throughout my life government has known my address and even how much money I’ve earned… no problem. I have been on Facebook only two years and immediately they became not only a commercial pest, such as junk mail and those phone calls, but they also profit from my and probably your name and address.

Facebook’s 33 year old founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent appearances before Congressional committees were most notable in his admittance the company ”Didn’t do enough…” concerning its responsibility to protect the privacy of its two billion users and further expressed his belief, “It is inevitable there will be some regulation.” Red tape is not a favored cure for most Americans but what institution except government is able to assure our privacy?

One of Facebook’s co-founders, Chris Hughes, said the recent inquiry is “very much overdue” and in a recent story by the newsgroup MarketWatch Hughes added, “It’s shocking to me they didn’t have to answer these questions early on.”

Although we Americans have been slow to question the intrusions inherent in the Internet, many groups in Europe have been active for years in studying and investigating digital companies that harvest personal information from online activity. The aim of the EU’s work is to assure citizen control of his or her own personal data by turning that information into a commodity…such as owning a car or land. Such an approach, however, may simply encourage increased theft of this newly created “virtual commodity.”

During the 2016 general election, Russian trolls using the Internet, including Facebook and other sites, aimed their fake campaign information at susceptible populations living in politically targeted states. It seems reasonable to assume those tools of disinformation influenced and perhaps changed the result of our Presidential election. If the Russians, working with a few Americans, can maneuver or perhaps outright steal our elections, what the hell is next?

Democrat Pat Williams of Missoula is a former U.S. Representative for Montana.

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