Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kerry and McCain introduce privacy bill

Originally published on 04/13/2011 at lubbockonline.com

Juliann Francis of Bloomberg reports that Senators John Kerry and John McCain have introduced a privacy bill in the Senate called the "2011 Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act." The bill will require companies to limit online data collection. Somewhat.

The bill makes use of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorney generals to make sure companies comply. It doesn't have a "do not track" component and has provisions for companies to get exemptions from portions of the bill by designing privacy policies to be approved by 3rd parties vetted by the FTC.

I haven't seen the actual bill yet, but it's a safe bet it doesn't go far enough. It's also a safe bet that it goes as far as it can at this point. A lot of companies count on the income they make gathering and selling consumer information. The privacy situation shouldn't have been allowed to get to this point, but to suddenly cut off that revenue completely could be devastating to the online economy, and maybe to the offline, too. So we must make use of the slippery slope political groups scream about, getting what we can now and pushing for more once everyone is used to the level we've just set.