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Best of the Blogs: Where Does the White House Stand on Online Privacy?

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Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.

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This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Feel free to send along your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.

Bits
"A consortium of companies responsible for the delivery of nearly 90 percent of online ads that appear on a user's screen based on browsing and buying habits have agreed to comply when consumers choose to control online tracking. The Obama administration on Wednesday set out a framework for a new privacy code that moves closer to letting consumers use a one-click, one-touch process to tell Internet companies whether they want their online activity tracked, reports Edward Wyatt of The New York Times." (Also Read Microsoft Wages War With Google Over Privacy Policy.)
Epicenter
"Just like a camera, the best store is the one you have with you. And most of us carry our smartphones with us everywhere we go and buy things all day long. In a forthcoming consumer study, Nielsen reports that 29 percent of smartphone owners are 'mobile shoppers.' This figure is even with a narrowly defined set of 'shopping-related activities.' For instance, Nielsen doesn't include 'used a map to find directions to a store or restaurant,' 'purchased books, magazines, or applications,' 'taking photos of items purchased or desired,' or 'sharing reactions to or reviews of a purchase online.' Together, I'd bet that handful of shopping-related activities alone would tip the mobile shoppers figure over 50 percent, at least." (For related content, see Data Indicates iPhone Sales Skyrocketed in the Fourth Quarter.)
Total Return
Link: Would You Buy Stock From a Robo-Broker?
"After the market crashes of the past decade-plus, most of us would probably like to hear less from our brokers and advisers – not more. But at the recent Technology Tools for Today conference in Dallas, Fidelity Investments demonstrated a product that could one day bring the broker right into your home.'As part of its applied-technology initiative, Fidelity was test-driving a robot that was roaming the conference halls,' said a report in Registered Rep magazine. Al Lee, senior project manager for Fidelity's Applied Technology group, 'controlled the robot remotely and was able to have conversations with attendees in the Fidelity booth, in the trade show halls, as well as in the various sessions from one location.'"
Zero Hedge
"Gold broke through resistance at $1,763/oz around 1800 GMT yesterday and in minutes quickly surged to $1,770/oz and then over $1,780/oz. With recent resistance breached at $1,763/oz, gold could reach the psychological resistance of $1,800/oz very shortly - we are only 1.3% below that level now. All major currencies fell against gold yesterday and the Japanese yen and British pound both took a pummelling and were more down 2% down against gold. Gold is again signalling in advance coming fiscal issues in the UK and Japan. In February alone, the yen is down a substantial 7% against gold and in the last 7 weeks since the start of 2012, the yen has fallen a whopping 15.5% against gold." (Also Read The Dollar Confirms a Possible Silver Pullback.)
Real Time Economics
"Wednesday brought further evidence that housing has climbed out of the sub-basement. But it's a long way from heading up the stairs to expansion. Existing home sales increased 4.3% to an annual rate of 4.57 million in January. But the gain came only because the National Association of Realtors sharply lowered December sales to 4.38 million. If December sales had stayed at their original 4.61 million, January sales would have been down slightly. Even so, the home sales report joins other data that point to a stabilization in housing. The most positive sign was the reduction in excess supply of homes for sale."

Twitter: @Minyanville

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