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A threat to privacy

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Those all-you-can-eat packages of voice, video and Internet services offered by phone and cable companies may be convenient, but they represent a potentially significant threat to people's privacy.

As a Los Angeles Times story on Page M9 points out, not only do providers have the ability to know what you watch on TV and whom you call, but they can also track your online activities, including sites you visit and stuff you buy.

What's more, providers can sell that information to telemarketers.

Internet, TV, phone — it's hard to imagine a more revealing glimpse of your private life.

"All your eggs are in one communications basket," said Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego. "If a company wants to, it can learn a great deal about you — and it probably wants to."