Ex-Government Official: The Private Sector Is Threatening Your Privacy

Emma Green | The Atlantic | June 20, 2013

Are data-mining companies and social-media platforms scarier than the government?

Former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz spent a career advocating more thorough protection of consumer information from inquiring private sector eyes. So perhaps it's no surprise that even in light of the recent shocking revelations about government surveillance of U.S. citizens' phone and email traffic, he thinks companies pose an equal threat to people's privacy.

"The implications of the NSA data breach are going to be greater in the context of protecting consumers' commercial privacy," he said at an event on privacy co-hosted by The Atlantic and National Journal on Thursday. "People are increasingly concerned about their own privacy vis-à-vis commercial entities... Americans are going to be concerned about this breach, and things will move much more quickly into the commercial context."