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Silicon Valley Firms Want To Nix Calif. Internet Privacy Bill 110

Posted by timothy
from the what-would-the-consequences-be dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Silicon Valley tech firms, banks and other powerful industries are mounting a quiet but forceful campaign to kill an Internet privacy bill that would give California consumers the right to know how their personal information is being used. A recent letter signed by 15 companies and trade groups — including TechAmerica, which represents Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other technology companies — demanded that the measure's author, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, drop her bill. They complain it would open up businesses to an avalanche of requests from individuals as well as costly lawsuits."
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Silicon Valley Firms Want To Nix Calif. Internet Privacy Bill

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  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lxs (131946) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:08AM (#43514399)

    "it would open up businesses to an avalanche of requests from individuals as well as costly lawsuits."

    Good!

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cenan (1892902) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:26AM (#43514507)

      Indeed. If they're afraid of costly lawsuits then they have no business in the tech industry. Nor any other industry.

      The avalanche will be a problem at the start. Once business practices become transparent enough, people will have no need to request the information that is already available (automatically).
      Or they could of course bicker and whine like little kids, finally get the bill nixed and go on their merry way screwing costumers/users over in a business as usual model.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        The avalanche will be a problem at the start. Once business practices become transparent enough, people will have no need to request the information that is already available (automatically).

        Not quite. If the cost to request the information is less than the cost to provide it, then ad agency1 could conceivably bankrupt ad agency2 by submitting lots of bogus info requests. The avalanche would then continue until there was only one company remaining, which would then a monopoly on the entire info collectin

        • by Cenan (1892902)

          Not quite. If the cost to request the information is less than the cost to provide it, then ad agency1 could conceivably bankrupt ad agency2 by submitting lots of bogus info requests. The avalanche would then continue until there was only one company remaining, which would then a monopoly on the entire info collecting business. Having the law allow a modest processing fee takes care of this problem (dunno if the bill has this provision), as well as takes away the expense argument.

          True but that stems from the problem of not distinguishing between "a person" and "a business", not this bill directly. There is no cost to provide the information if it is an automated solution, maintenance yes but keeping the data on hand also incurs a cost, so neglible I would imagine. They might be able to make your server take a dive for a bit, but that is called a DDoS and is in itself illegal in most places.

          The fear of lawsuits part I'm guessing is because some of the info is inaccurate. This isn't an exact science. A lot of info is inferred, with some ads being switched on at rather low thresholds of certainty. If you browse a lot of sites about prenatal care, they may guess that you're expecting and start showing you ads for baby stuff. If you happen to be a teenage girl (who is not pregnant) and your parents guess this means you're pregnant and trying to hide it from them, that may be rather inconvenient for you. It's going to be interesting watching how this part unfolds because to a limited extent it's something everyone does to everything they encounter in real life - infer qualities based on other hints or clues. But take it too far with a specific individual and it is considered creepy and stalker-ish.

          Inaccurate data is of no concern, if you created it from an in-exact science like data mining,

      • Indeed. If they're afraid of costly lawsuits then they have no business in the tech industry. Nor any other industry.

        A lot of companies have discovered this, and therefore moved their business operations elsewhere. Hence this whole deal about outsourcing - too many people here are big whiners who make the legal costs associated w/ doing anything skyrocket, w/ the result that the cost of doing business in the US is orders of magnitude higher than the cost of doing it elsewhere. So they simply move operational costs offshore, fire Americans - whiners and non-whiners alike - and then everyone is left whining that outsourci

        • by Cenan (1892902) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:32PM (#43517599)

          Indeed. If they're afraid of costly lawsuits then they have no business in the tech industry. Nor any other industry.

          A lot of companies have discovered this, and therefore moved their business operations elsewhere. Hence this whole deal about outsourcing - too many people here are big whiners who make the legal costs associated w/ doing anything skyrocket, w/ the result that the cost of doing business in the US is orders of magnitude higher than the cost of doing it elsewhere. So they simply move operational costs offshore, fire Americans - whiners and non-whiners alike - and then everyone is left whining that outsourcing is looting US jobs.

          That is a false assumption. It might partially apply to the US but the US is not the only western country to have experienced a boom in outsourceing, and that is regardless of fuckedup-ness of legal system. Outsourcing is a financial decision for the most part, and a decision about putting your fingers in your ears and hoping for the best, in the short term.
          The bill is a problem for the kind of business who does not wan't people to know what kind of data the business keeps on them, or does not yet have an automated solution to those requests. The former: Good riddance, hopefully the latter will wisen up and implement it. In either case, you and I are better off with the bill than without.

          • by unixisc (2429386)
            In Europe, lawsuits are limited by the 'loser pays all' principle, which is not there in the US. As a result, such a bill in Europe wouldn't result in a flood of litigation. But in US, where even the winner does not see his legal costs reimbursed by the losing party, such a thing would threaten a flood of litigation. And anything that makes operating a business more difficult or expensive, or eliminates the number of ways that businesses have of making money, is just one more contributing factor to suc
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bdwebb (985489) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:32PM (#43517605)
        I think the fact that one of their specific complaints is that it would "open up businesses to [...] costly lawsuits" is the exact reason to allow this piece of legislation to move forward.

        If these companies are doing shit with our personal information that is so shady that it would immediately cause a flood of lawsuits once this bill brought those things to light (which everyone pretty much already knows), this seems like legislation we should have had long ago.
    • "it would open up businesses to an avalanche of requests from individuals as well as costly lawsuits."

      Good!

      Obligatory cat macro [tinypic.com]

    • by phdscam (2901299)
      Google etc. will just change their TOS and ask you to agree. What could be consumers' next steps?
    • by flyneye (84093)

      It is only right to pay for something which doesn't belong to you.
      Peoples personal information belongs to them by default. If you want to use something of mine it is only right that you pay me and tell me your intentions and outcome. If you don't agree, then stay out of my personal information and whatever you do, stay out of my arms reach.

    • Do ya think that if they weren't doing shitty stuff to us with our info that may just be illegal in the light of day that they would not be fighting so hard to keep a lid on it? Cynical me says that this bill will die a slow death and not be heard from again. In other news, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach has a well funded super PAC supporting her re-election bid after the quite defeat of her bill in the state assembly.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    'It will lead to costly lawsuits' is not an argument. On the contrary - this is an argument to put the law in place.

    • They will only get hit by costly law suits if they are misusing the data. This is a measure that will keep them honest.

      Tell your AssemblyCritter to: +1 - vote for this.

      • They will only get hit by costly law suits if they are misusing the data. This is a measure that will keep them honest.

        Which is why they are so adamantly against it.

        Tell your AssemblyCritter to: +1 - vote for this.

        What, put the citizens' interests ahead of big money's interests?

        This is the USA; that would be an unpatriotic assault on capitalism.

  • by Teun (17872) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:13AM (#43514413) Homepage
    What's news for some is old-hat for others.
    • Re:News or old hat? (Score:5, Informative)

      by gsslay (807818) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:22AM (#43514491)

      Indeed. Europeans read these stories and think "Really? They don't have that right in the U.S. ??" I'm not intending to sound smug or sarcastic, but this is such a basic of EU legislation it seems bizarre that other developed countries are still struggling with this.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's because Europeans and Americans have a fundamentally different way of looking at politics.

        The U.S. was founded on certain principles that were ironically considered extremely liberal at the time, but now would be classified as extremely conservative according to a European mentality.

        An admittedly over-simplified way of looking at is this: European politics is based on the idea that the government should promote the welfare of the citizens. American politics is based on the idea that the government s

        • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Monday April 22, 2013 @11:32AM (#43515819)

          If you don't want them using that information, don't give it to them. It's your choice. The government should not get involved.

          These businesses can still get info about you even if you don't directly deal with them. So you're arguing froma false premise from the start.

          • If you don't want them using that information, don't give it to them. It's your choice. The government should not get involved.

            These businesses can still get info about you even if you don't directly deal with them. So you're arguing froma false premise from the start.

            Not at all. You gave your information to the business freely and made no requests that your information not be freely disclosed. That means they are free to do with your information whatever they wish (within the bounds of the law, of course, and subject to any potential consequences). If you did not want your information used by the business or sold to others by them, you should have specified that before agreeing to the business arrangement that required you to give them your information in the first p

        • by KiloByte (825081)

          The U.S. was founded on certain principles that were ironically considered extremely liberal at the time, but now would be classified as extremely conservative according to a European mentality.

          Well, we still don't have a strong right to free speech (truthful "libel" in UK, "insulting religious values" in Poland, a crapload of things in Germany, etc), and a complete lack of other basic human rights such as the right to self-defense (which has mostly gone away in the US as well, despite unambiguous wording in your constitution).

      • by Solandri (704621)
        The EU tends to take a "big brother knows best" approach. The U.S. tends to take a "let the market decide" approach. Sometimes the EU way ends up better, sometimes the U.S. way ends up better. A good counterexample to privacy is GSM. The EU mandated GSM which unfortunately was based on dead-end technology (TDMA - which allocates data bandwidth even to phones which aren't transmitting any data). The U.S. approach resulted in CDMA and TDMA competing, with CDMA coming out as the eventual winner. (Yes CDM
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Clearly then, your businesses aren't getting their money's worth from the governments that they paid for.

  • Simple solution... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:13AM (#43514417)
    ... the companies stop collecting data on consumers, and going forward require opt-in to allow the data collection.

    .
    It is as if the companies are saying, "we stole all this data from our customers, and it would be too expensive to allow them to have it back."

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday April 22, 2013 @09:57AM (#43515007)

      That's not enough. What will happen is that every company and their brother will require carte blanch opt in in order to do any transaction with them. There needs to be some sort of restriction on the collection and dissemination of information for purposes unrelated to the reason the person gave the information in the first place.

      Night clubs that check id to verify legal drinking age aren't allowed to require that customers let them scan ids and keep records because that isn't necessary for the purpose of verifying age.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        There needs to be some sort of restriction on the collection and dissemination of information for purposes unrelated to the reason the person gave the information in the first place.

        Paradoxically, this is the reason why I use Google Checkout from time to time. Google already knows a bunch of stuff about me. If I'm buying an item on some website which looks like it's run by some guy operating out of his garage, a lot of times I'd prefer not giving him my credit card info and just have Google handle it. G

        • IIRC there's already a law prohibiting companies from storing your credit card number without your permission.

          It is not a law, it is in the PCI-DSS - Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard - part of the merchant contract all the merchants must agree to in order to accept credit cards payments.

          To protect against credit card fraud, rather than trust google, I use controlled payment numbers. [wikipedia.org]

      • ...That's not enough. What will happen is that every company and their brother will require carte blanch opt in in order to do any transaction with them. ...

        Thanks. Good point.

        .
        It reminds me of the clauses in many current consumer "agreements" that force the consumer to [typically corporate-friendly and anti-consumer] binding arbitration and force the consume to give up the right to legal process.

    • Session data. Perfectly fine when used properly, can greatly enhance the usability of a site without having to know anything personal about a user, but good look collecting it if you have to wait for the user to opt-in before you can collect any data at all. I suppose it's possible to create a sort of anonymous "registration" system, where someone can agree to have cookies stored on their system by clicking an opt-in button on the site, but that's an inelegant solution at best.

      And most websites already have

  • Cry, cry. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:13AM (#43514419) Journal

    In other news, the great and good of the world are demanding continued immunity from a hithertoo largely alien phenomenon referred to as 'consequences', widely believed to be some sort of communicable disease popular among people who don't matter. Important People warn of vaguely defined, but catastrophic, outcomes should these 'consequences' be allowed to spread from the squalid and undeserving sectors where they currently breed and into high value portions of society.

  • by Loki_666 (824073) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:14AM (#43514421)

    why shouldn't customers have this right? Shouldn't all this be mentioned in the T&Cs anyway?

    "We reserve the right to use your information however we want. Press Agree to acknowledge you accept this and to start using our wonderful service".

    • why shouldn't customers have this right? Shouldn't all this be mentioned in the T&Cs anyway?

      "We reserve the right to use your information however we want. Press Agree to acknowledge you accept this and to start using our wonderful service".

      It is not reasonable to expect the average Google user to understand what even that admittedly plain statement actually means, mostly because depth and breadth of what constitutes "...your information..." is far from plain, if not deliberately hidden.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:14AM (#43514427) Homepage

    It sickens me to see all of these business people who somehow feel entitled to abuse the information of people to their advantage and have no sense of guilt or remorse over it. They get people to sign papers that include open-ended words like "...with our associates" without ever stipulating who those associates were, are or will be.

    I always say "no" to those words when I see them because I see them for what it is -- a huge open door for them to insert changes of ALL sorts. Meanwhile, your end of whatever agreement says you have no right to change or do anything and if you have a dispute, you are to give up your right to trial or to sue much of the time.

    And now, when people want to know what's what, and what they are doing behind the scenes, we get what? If business is doing something which violates the trust of their customers, why doesn't a customer have a right to know?! How else can a customer know when it's time to take their business elsewhere? These entitled business people want to maintain their rights to screw people over.

  • lawsuits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l3v1 (787564) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:15AM (#43514429)
    " avalanche of requests from individuals as well as costly lawsuits"

    Well, whether it would be an avalanche or not, would remain to be seen. However, no company should've gotten that broad freedom of data use as they had in the first place, so however late it is, the proper thing to do is to allow individuals to see how companies handle their data and what they do with it.

    Regarding lawsuits, them being "afraid" of lawsuits means that they already think there would be reason for lawsuits, which in turn gives a lot of reasons to even more demand for proper data privacy laws. User data handling should be controlled in a way that people wouldn't have reason to sue. Yes, dream on.

    Anyway, whatever privacy laws would be better than the current state of do-whatever-you-want and change your terms of service by the weather approach most companies follow.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I would argue that if they didn't want to report on what data they hold about an individual, they shouldn't have held onto so much data.
       
      Not logging in until certificate issue is resolved.
       
      L4t3r4lu5

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      The real question is - One can always look at a oneliner summary of a law and say, "opposing this is BAD!" - but often when you start picking apart the details of a bill, you'll see that it is the WRONG way to solve a given problem and the law itself is just plain BAD.

      Look at Every Child Left Behind - Hey, let's make education in our country better! If anyone opposes it... THINK OF TEH CHILDREN!!!! - That legislation is systematically destroying the education system in this country. Yeah, the oneliner su

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well, avalanche of requests from individuals and costly lawsuits is exactly what we need. Why would the coprorations be complaining about a privacy bill? It's not like they're hiding something.

    • If they're doing something they don't want anyone to know, maybe they shouldn't be doing it in the first place :-)

  • Ballsy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:20AM (#43514469) Journal

    You almost have to admire the sociopathic chutzpah that it must take for AIG to comment, much less demand to get their way, on just about anything ever again ever...

    • Re:Ballsy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:35AM (#43514537) Homepage

      The AIG executives pal around with the executives from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley. Of course they have sociopathic chutzpah - this is the group of people who committed 11-figure frauds, got a giant bailout from the US taxpayer, and then worked hard in Washington to ensure that the agencies and regulations proposed to prevent that from recurring either didn't exist, had no funding, etc.

      In other words, these are criminals who are upset at the police for catching them, and their solution is to just make sure there aren't any police or that they own the judges.

    • These people live in their reality bubble.

      Which is a GREAT reason to listen to some other people when it comes to these bills. The problem is that these same people are the ones that can funnel hundreds of thousands to lobbyists.

  • not true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:20AM (#43514475)

    As a former employee of a business that tracks a huge amount of personal information, I can tell you that most of these companies are already required to keep these records because of EU privacy records. Our databases were literally divided domestic and foreign for this reason.
    So while it would take some effort in moving data and changing internal procedures, the bulk of the work is already done for most of these companies.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can anyone name one good thing to come out of the valley in the last 10 years? all I see is privacy invasion and vapid bullshit with no business model...

    I am dead serious, please name one positive innovation to arise from the valley/Bay area tech sector since 2003.

  • by MikeRT (947531)

    Menlo Park-based Facebook and Mountain View-based Google are both in the district represented by Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, who said he hasn't made up his mind on the bill, but is looking for the "sweet spot" where privacy is protected "but you don't completely shut off Internet commerce. I'm trying to sort it out."

    People don't want to pay for Google, Facebook, etc. Therefore, they use advertising to make a profit. What the privacy advocates don't want to admit here is that anyone using a free,

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:38AM (#43514549) Journal

      If you look at the list of companies on the letterhead, you'll see that companies you pay(often quite significantly) for, are not signed on to your distinction.

      FROM: California Chamber of Commerce
            American Insurance Association
        American International Group
        Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies
        California Bankers Association
        California Cable and Telecommunications Association
        California Grocers Association
        California Land Title Association
        California Manufacturers and Technology Association
          California Retailers Association
        Direct Marketing Association
          Internet Alliance
        NetChoice
        Personal Insurance Federation of California
        State Privacy and Security Coalition, Inc.
        TechAmerica
        TechNet
        R. L. Polk & Co.
        Reed Elsevier, PLC

      In fact, the conventional 'free as in adsense' crowd is remarkably absent(or, rather, hiding behind a few industry pressure groups with 'tech' somewhere in the name).

      The list is heavily dominated by outfits who are either overt spammers(DMA, looking at you), data-broker creeps(Reed Elsevier), and companies with a strong actuarial interest in everything about you(the insurance and banking entities).

      This has essentially nothing to do with ad-supported internet stuff.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What the privacy advocates don't want to admit here is that anyone using a free, ad-supported service has no moral right to not have their use evaluated for better advertising.

      Is that meant to be sarcasm or satire?

      "Better" advertising?

      This is about collecting data - and selling it.

      This is about creating profiles of people to not only sell crap - and it's all crap when it comes down to it - but it's a proxy for government's to collect information on people.

      You know, just by using a scary letter and sending it to: Google, Medical Information Bureau, Credit Bureaus, credit card companies, ISPs, Cell phone providers, I CAN create a dossier that would make an East German Stazi agent

    • by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday April 22, 2013 @09:53AM (#43514985)

      What the privacy advocates don't want to admit here is that anyone using a free, ad-supported service has no moral right to not have their use evaluated for better advertising.

      Those are weasel words. Anyone has a moral right to not being tracked by private companies. Therefore, they have a moral right to not be subject to behavioural studies intended to improve advertising effectiveness. Let's not forget that advertising is a form of brainwashing, propaganda designed to induce particular behaviours. It is essentially conspiracy to psychological assault.

      Where the companies go wrong is in assuming that tracking people without explicit consent is ok. Where the companies go wrong is in assuming that once given, that consent cannot be taken away again. On the contrary, people are allowed to change their minds.

      By all means, companies should if they so wish track people without the ability, IN ANY WAY, to identify a specific individual. And this SHOULD BE VERIFIABLE, either through a formal audit similar to an IRS audit with serious consequences for noncompliance, or through letting any individual at any time demand a comlete list of the information gathered about them together with the option to completely eradicate said information verifiably, or be sued.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Then why does Charles Schwab, my paystub service, my bank, and other first-party companies I directly do business with (and pay for) have to install third-party trackers on their web sites?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People don't want to pay for Google, Facebook, etc. Therefore, they use advertising to make a profit. What the privacy advocates don't want to admit here is that anyone using a free, ad-supported service has no moral right to not have their use evaluated for better advertising.

      People have been buying and selling ads for hundreds of years without the need or ability to stalk their customers. There's a weekly newspaper here called the Illinois Times that operates on advertising alone, with the paper being gi

    • Bullshit argument (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Monday April 22, 2013 @11:56AM (#43516069) Journal

      People don't want to pay for Google, Facebook, etc.

      I don't even want to USE Google, Facebook, etc. But the thing is that they want to track me anyway. They lurk on almost every website. These companies invade the web. So don't pretend it is my fault. I have to install a zillion firefox plugins to block them. This is not a "it's free, so shut up" situation, but an "it's evil, these corporations must be punished" situation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What the privacy advocates don't want to admit here is that anyone using a free, ad-supported service has no moral right to not have their use evaluated for better advertising.

      Absolute horseshit. I have every right in the world (moral and otherwise) to not have any part of my life misused or abused for any reason, let alone for the profit of others. Is it realistic to expect that to actually play out in the real world? I dunno; I suppose there was a time in the American south when a black man had no expectation of being free, completely apart from what the morality of that issue was.

      What I really don't understand is how you ignorant bastards ever got the idea that businesses have

  • Hypocrite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:40AM (#43514559)
    > A recent letter signed by 15 companies and trade groups — including TechAmerica, which represents Google,

    LOL. Google with the same Eric Schmidt who wants Drones banned because he's worried about the invasion of privacy when they fly over your mansion estate?

    ""You're having a dispute with your neighbour," he hypothesised. "How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?"

    Gee I don't know Eric. About the same way I feel when you run your fingers through my hair. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/apr/21/drones-google-eric-schmidt [guardian.co.uk]
    • Re:Hypocrite (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:58AM (#43514663) Journal

      Hey! Be nice. Our good buddy Eric has a 100% consistent and hypocrisy-free commitment to the principle that surveillance technology should never be allowed into the hands of people who he might conceivably be vulnerable to...

      Street-view cars and omnipresent online surveillance are OK; because those things are crazy expensive to operate usefully, and because if you don't want your house photographed you can just buy a larger plot of land, a higher fence, and more rentacops! Civilian drones, though, some bored kid with a couple hundred bucks could buzz his Betters for nothing more than the cost of electricity to recharge his little model airplane, and we just can't have that.

    • Re:Hypocrite (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jamesh (87723) on Monday April 22, 2013 @09:01AM (#43514685)

      > A recent letter signed by 15 companies and trade groups — including TechAmerica, which represents Google, LOL. Google with the same Eric Schmidt who wants Drones banned because he's worried about the invasion of privacy when they fly over your mansion estate? ""You're having a dispute with your neighbour," he hypothesised. "How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?" Gee I don't know Eric. About the same way I feel when you run your fingers through my hair. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/apr/21/drones-google-eric-schmidt [guardian.co.uk]

      That's different though. The drones issue is about _his_ privacy, not yours.

      And I stand by my previous statement concerning drones. I'm happy for it to be legal for my neighbor or government to fly a drone over my property, if it's also legal for me to disable it and then take possession of it when it crashes onto my property, and for my neighbor/government to be responsible for anything it breaks when it crashes.

  • They complain it would open up businesses to an avalanche of requests from individuals

    How hard would it be to set up a website where, on submitting details only you (should) know, you get back on email with the details of who has what information on you, and how it is being used. Would take someone like Google about a day and peanuts for a budget? Since these guys have already banded together to form 'TechAmerica', I'm sure this excellent umbrella organisation would be just the place to host the service :)

    as well as costly lawsuits

    Why? Because they are doing something illegal with our data?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 22, 2013 @09:59AM (#43515043)

    There is a coming backlash to the ubiquitous collection of personal data. There has to be. The sharing of information for monetization purposes is alarming. Some of this data is harmless, some of it would ruin lives. What with technology leaps quietly occurring in the background, it is simply a matter of time before websites are able to track you from your desktop to your mobile, even if you are not logged into any services. There is going to be a big breach of data. It has to happen because companies are careless with data. The want the money associated with your data, but not the security processes that naturally have to protect it.

    It's 2013. I don't have a Facebook account, a Google account, a LinkedIn account. I think companies that track and score people based on their supposed "clout" are stupid, polarizing, and serve to create a digital apartheid. Personal data should be personal. Cookie and other data should be first party only. If a company needs metrics, let them do it for themselves. If they cannot, they have a bad business model.

    Point: personal data should be expensive for the companies to have. Breaches should cost millions and should be a federal offense, especially if SSNs are involved. There should be no appeals. You lose data, have a breach, you bought the farm.

  • Color me cynical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday April 22, 2013 @11:09AM (#43515599)

    The trend in the last 15 years or so has been "if it's good for a corporation's profits, it's good for America." Rep. Lowenthal is either going to see her political adversaries get a fat campaign check or the anti-privacy coalition will make her an offer she can't refuse. I've seen too many of the staunches defenders of the public go 180 when the cash starts moving.

    • The trend in the last 15 years or so has been "if it's good for a corporation's profits, it's good for America."

      Just fifteen years?

      • Charles E. Wilson was the head of General Motors when it was America's largest corporation. In 1952 Wilson told a Senate subcommittee, "What is good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice-versa." Wilson later served as United States Secretary of Defense under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

        So it's 60 years, MINIMUM.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Monday April 22, 2013 @11:51AM (#43516019) Homepage

    with my business and website. I have dropped my Google+ page which showed in the search results and will not be using Facebook/Twitter and etc... Also deicde to either go with Vimeo $200 per year or pay OVH $59 for a server to host my product/how to videos instead of Youtube.

    I have the products that my constomers want and I don't want ME my BUSINESS and my CUSTOMERS to be someone elses PRODUCT.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...it is called stalking, and is a crime. When corporations do it, it is called a business model. If corporations are people, they are committing the crime of stalking and should be held accountable for it.

  • The article quotes TechAmerica's director of California government affairs Robert Callahan stated that a 2005 California privacy law already enables consumers to ask what personal information companies are using.

    Does anyone know what this law is and how to use it?

  • We cannot pass a law that would permit people to know how data about them is being used because the companies who are using that data would be liable for what they are doing.

    So if companies start breaking the law early and often, we're obligated to protect them so they can go on doing the same and prevented from stopping them.

    Jesus fucking christ.

    I'm sorry. I can't help but think that Google is incapable of stopping sucking on the money spurting cock long enough to think about ANYTHING else.

    You really can

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