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6. The Internet > Video Streamed from the Internet to the Front Room - Pg. 280

280 6 The Internet Privacy threats exist from additional sources. E-commerce sites compile massive databases of past purchasing information that can potentially be made available to advertising partners. One way purchasing histories are used is to target people with ads based on past purchases. Amazon might target e-mail campaigns with messages about photography equipment to people who have purchased books or equipment related to photography. Google and Yahoo! as well as other companies provide free e-mail. Some advertisers place brief text ads at the end of these messages, based on keywords within messages. They state that they do not actually read the content in these messages. However, the potential for abuse is there. The Stricter European Privacy Rules The European Union, currently composed of 27 countries, has more-stringent rules governing Internet privacy than does the United States. It has mandated that each coun- try must enact laws requiring web sites to offer visitors the choice of opting in before allowing the site to gather information about them. Thus, if a person does not explicitly agree, the web site is prohibited from gathering any information. In addition to warning users about privacy risks, web sites must not use behavioral marketing to target advertising based on a visitor's race, religion, or other such cat- egories. Furthermore, social networking sites cannot keep personal information after a user deletes her account or after an account is idle for a long period. Different rules in the United States and Europe make it complex for organizations to operate web sites in both areas. These varying rules force web-based companies to custom-program different versions of their sites to accommodate the various coun- tries. The use of marketing programs can also be limited. The European regulations do protect citizens' rights more fully than those in the United States. It's not clear, however, what the impact is on e-commerce and revenue from online advertising. Cur- rently, advertising revenue underwrites the cost of operating many Internet services. While there have been lawsuits and vocal complaints about privacy infringement in the United States, it's not known how much most people are concerned about possible privacy infringement or how much privacy they're willing to give up in exchange for low cost or free access to online material. VIDEO STREAMED FROM THE INTERNET TO THE FRONT ROOM ........................................................ For years, the only way to watch television was through broadcast, satellite, or cable technology. Now viewers can access the Internet to view movies and television shows on a variety of devices including mobile tablets, smartphones, Blu-ray players, a variety of set-top devices (such as those from Roku, Boxee, and Apple), and Internet-capable