On the one hand, Internet tracking and the advertising that it enables fuels most of our most valuable Silicon Valley enterprises, as well as the websites that are the sources of so much of our information, entertainment, and social networking. On the other hand, at a time when we seem worried about tracking by the National Security Agency — which at least in theory is subject to outside oversight and laws about how it can use our information — dozens of private companies, some of which we have never heard of and all of which are accountable to no one in the way the NSA is, are tracking us, too.

To inform that debate, we need to see stories flushing out the arguments, sizing up the key players on both sides, and exploring how tricky the politics of all this can be. (Can Google or Facebook deplore NSA tracking while fighting for the freedom to do their own tracking?) Most important, we need some good analyses of how tightened restrictions on tracking will affect our economy and some of our most celebrated enterprises.

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Steven Brill , the author of Class Warfare: Inside the Fight To Fix America’s Schools, has written for magazines including New York, The New Yorker, Time, Harper's, and The New York Times Magazine. He founded and ran Court TV, The American Lawyer magazine, ten regional legal newspapers, and Brill's Content magazine. He also teaches journalism at Yale, where he founded the Yale Journalism Initiative.