Those examples are truly sophomoric taken at face value. None of them display a violation of privacy. The problem begins when each of those examples collects and distributes such information without your permission.
Cold-calling is illegal here in Germany, as is sharing of any personal information without express consent (and it's also illegal to tie such consent to benefits). Even in the case of customer loyalty cards, thee are harsh limits on what information can be shared between participating companies who all support one particular card (think Walgreen's, Safeway, Foot Locker, Quizno, Chipotle and your local private electric supplier all sharing one SuperCustomerCard).
The Founding Fathers in the US never dreamed that personal privacy would need to be protected or they would have added that to the Bill of Rights. The laws here in Germany were written long after such a need was clear.
A regular reader? Perhaps you just miss every single story in which Mike referenced continental governments as if they should follow US juris prudence. He understands that the US 9th Circuit Court is a pile of clowns but fails to realise and accept that there are similar situations in, for example, Germany.
Unlike a great part of the US court system, Germany courts are not ruled by precedent. Only the parliament and the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe can make decisions which are binding on other courts. For comparison, please imagine someone expecting a PCSO to arrest, subdue and take into custody an armed bank robber. Or a traffic warden. "Well he wears a uniform, has a badge and works for the council! Why isn't he doing anything?!"
And Mike does this all the time. Just look at the germany tag. Or the france one. The whole world is not the US and US law does not apply here. On the continent, guns are generally illegal and tits are "family friendly", and on this side of the Channel the latter show up on the front page rather than being buried inside somewhere.
You may be right that I see it through coloured specs, but I was quite sincere.
I am an immigrant. I left the US and the EU has been willing to put up with me. I am here at their sufferance. As you may have noticed, I tend to take the position of the loyal opposition, a concept almost universally lost on Americans. I complain bitterly about this place (the PIIGS nations have fucked those of us who are fiscally responsible) and I'm so quick to point out problems that people ask me why I moved here.
You can't fix any problem you can't identify.
After a few years of reading and participating on this site it seems to me that you really slam Europe inordinately and inappropriately hard for things that you fully accept the US doing. Wiretapping? Secret investigations? Propaganda? Net neutrality>? Corrupt politicians? All par for the course... as long as it's the US. Just one idiot here seems to justify a massive sense of outrage, and that was my point: one idiot who can be stopped without effort, but you're outraged.
The idiots calling me a trooooooooooll can all die in a single fire (the AC who did so did make me giggle). I wrote the comment and answered you here for you to consider. Maybe I'm wrong -- hell, I studied econ for fun -- but maybe you are, too.
Yes, you caught me too. I am an evil, horrible troll and not someone who's been on the Net longer than that term. I've also looked at your blog, Tim, and I find it as lacking as its traffic reports show which may explain why your attempt to ride this site's story about digital distribution were about as successful as your attempts to get others to cheer on your writing (when you're not forced to work two jobs).
I'm betting you're now becoming just a little bit less of a fan of ad hominem attacks, and the fact of the matter is I'm not calling you a poopyface; I'm looking at your blog and commenting on it. This is what Mike does on occasion. Maybe it comes from being in the US and growing more accustomed to the nearly unspeakable actions of those who rule under the guise of representing.
The EU is hardly the ne plus ultra of civilisation (not until we nuke Portugal and Greece, anyway), but the size and distribution of the bureaucracies works fairly well to stymie bad legislation, and history serves to protect us from making these mistakes again. In comparison the US has a rather long history of intentional memory loss.
So now if you'd like to return to the original subject I'll be awake for a while. If you just want to continue the name-calling and OT bullshit, you can just go fuck yourself; I still need to clip my toenails tonight and my kid is, at this moment, pretending she's Welsh. With this in mind perhaps you'll understand that my actual concerns are a bit more important to me and mine than the baseless opinion of some random intarwebs twit.
Yes, yes, I'm an idiot troll who has never provided stories to this site nor answered questions nor participated in some rather interesting discussions. And you are... a shining beacon of intelligent discourse?
Mike, you seem inordinately pleased to slam Europe whenever possible, happily ignoring the US' transgressions on any subject. One shitball EU politician who has been outed versus the entirety of the US gubmint: president, press group, Congress, Federal bureaus and the courts. If you have a good argument to make -- and in the case of ACTA you do -- you don't need to include ad hominem attacks.
I'm pretty sure it wasn't the EU which claimed secrecy was needed to protect "national security". I'm pretty sure it wasn't the EU who illegally gave access to "national security" documents to the entertainment industry. And I'm quite sure that no politician here in the EU ever stopped in the middle of a campaign to run back to the office in order to vote against people's privacy the way some guy in Washington did when it came to FISA.
China is DPRK's largest producer and trading partner. If South Korea holds a patent on something it makes it much easier for China to refuse to manufacture those copycat uniforms, pointing to the need to respect the patents of its other trading partners who provide them substantially more income.