New Bill Could Prevent Marketers from Collecting Your Information, But Leaves Government Wide Open To Know Everything About You
Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) has introduced a new piece of legislation that ostensibly aims to protect users’ privacy rights online. It would do so by preventing companies like yours and mine from collecting even the most basic information about users without giving them the option of opting out of the data-collection process. Rep. Speier is shown below, in an image linked from Wired.com.
On a cursory reading, there are at least two issues with this bill – you may read the bill by CLICKING HERE – that create political, social, legal, and civil-rights gremlins, at least in our humble opinion.
1. Government is completely exempt: This part of the bill means none of the provisions of measure are meant to impact ‘the Federal government or any instrumentality of the Federal government’ or the ‘government of a state or any political subdivision of a state’. Essentially, if you are a government or agency contracted thereby, you may spy on as many people as you damned well please.
2. Companies would not be able to collect any information about a user’s location, the IP address of that individual or the means by which they accessed your website or domain.
For the first issue, we do not believe any government has the right to track any of its citizens without a warrant. We do not believe the government of the USA has been able to close the gap in cultural lag that has been created by the rapid proliferation of technology. In this regard we already believe the government has too much authority to spy on us. States and cities are even worse than the Federal government, because they play fast and loose with civil rights, worrying about the consequences only if a victim of the state makes noise about it.
For the second issue, we have to track spammers, hackers, liars, cheats and thieves who try to gain access to our systems or block our servers, and while many of these clever scum use means to conceal or disguise their information, those stupid enough to not hide their identity can be more readily blocked, because we collect IP addresses and track their access points and trace routes.
We will be quite interested in reading about how Mike Berkens, Howard Neu and Rick Schwartz, among many others, view this proposal. On its face, it has all the trappings of a gray world in which only our alleged friends in government, ready to protect us – they do so for a price, your freedom – are permitted to do all the things from which the government says you must be protected.