Sunday, April 17, 2011

New "Internet Privacy Bill of Rights" has its detractors; little connection to "do not track"

This story takes me back to the 1990s, when the Libertarian Party was suggested a constitutional amendment like "The Right to Privacy shall not be infringed."  By government. What about companies online? 

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has introduced a privacy bill, S799, “A bill to establish a regulatory framework for the comprehensive protection of personal data for individuals under the aegis of the Federal Trade Commission, and for other purposes”, with govtrack link (url) here, and Open Congress link here.  It's short title is "Commerical Privacy Bill of Rights".  The full text is not yet available. Kerry's own link is here.  John McCain (R-AZ) is a cosponsor. 

Generally, the bill has been criticized for not addressing “do not track” or the ease with which websites can track the surfing of visitors.  It does try to establish a somewhat bulky framework (if slow) for regulating what marketeers can do with information, and does mandate “opt-out” mechanisms. It may be much more favorable to the “user generated content” model for the Internet as monetized by advertisers than was the Boucher Bill.

I notice that I get both ads and particularly emails based on my Internet habits, including the content of my blog postings (not so much Facebook as blogs themselves).  Some of them are amusing. One company thought I was an IT recruiter and keeps sending me requisitions for jobs. Others think I am a life insurance agent and want to trade leads.  I’ve been sent information that I could probably have abused if I were malicious.  Companies have a hard time understanding why someone would write about something without being either a professional media person or being in the specific business already.

Along these lines, visitors could check out the Wall Street Journal article by Julia Angwin, “The New Gold Mine: Your Secrets”, link here. It makes me think of the One Republic song “Secrets” (link).

PCWorld has an article by Dan Tynan, “Five Big Problems with the New Privacy Bill of Rights”, here.

The Alyona Show has a YouTube video on what’s missing from this Internet Privacy Bill of Rights”.

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