Legislating A Limit To Web-Surf Tracking - HotHardware
Legislating A Limit To Web-Surf Tracking

Legislating A Limit To Web-Surf Tracking

Seasoned web users are well aware that the websites you visit and the search engine queries you employ are monitored and analyzed in a general sort of a way to allow web companies to sell advertising targeted to specific subsets of people. Casual users are often surprised and unnerved at the amount and type of information that is gathered about them on the web, and caution about the downstream effects of having the information available is growing. Numerous legislators are looking into regulating the amount and type of information that can be collected, and whether or not any information should be collected without the specific consent of the web user. New York assemblyman Richard Brodsky is one.

So he drafted a bill, now gathering support in Albany, that would make it a crime — punishable by a fine to be determined — for certain Web companies to use personal information about consumers for advertising without their consent.

And because it would be extraordinarily difficult for the companies that collect such data to adhere to stricter rules for people in New York alone, these companies would probably have to adjust their rules everywhere, effectively turning the New York legislation into national law.

“Should these companies be able to sell or use what’s essentially private data without permission? The easy answer is absolutely not,” said the assemblyman who sponsored the bill, Richard L. Brodsky, a Democrat who has represented part of Westchester County since 1982.

It's easy to be snarky about how ill-informed politicians are about the Internet. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens will go to his grave famous as the guy who thinks the Internet is a "series of tubes."  But politicians really don't know much of anything specific about much of anything anyway. It's really not their job to be experts about any particular thing. In a way, they will act as a perfect arbiters for the worries of the clueless on the Internet. They are clueless on the Internet. Hmmm. I guess they are experts, after all.
0
+ -

Morons. If that passes, it'll be much more difficult for many of the free services on the web to be free.

There's nothing private that they collect as long as they aren't getting people's names, addresses, credit card #s, or SSNs. And as long as they are not putting things on my computer, I have no problem with it.

0
+ -

What a surprise, another hair brained scheme from a politician. As usual it would appear to be nothing more than a useless bill from a clueless politician. This time, aimed at appeasing his constituents by ostensibly making the big bad internet a safer place for all.

The reality of the situation is that the internet is far too vast to effectively police such restrictions given the millions of small scale sites. Such sites would be the most likely culprit in collecting any personal data that could potentially be dangerous and used inappropriately anyways. Sure it would be easy to enforce such a law with companies like Google, Yahoo!, and MSN, but are these even the types of sites we are concerned about in the first place? This would also ignore sites that are based in foreign countries which we would have no jurisdiction over to begin with.

Certainly preventing important personal information from falling into the wrong hands is vital. It would be ideal to be able to simply make it illegal and be done with it. Unfortunately laws more often then not don't prevent crimes, they only specify the punishment.

This also makes no distinction between what types of personal data are acceptable. Most of the internet revolves around making money from adds that are targeted towards your geographical location, or various preferences. As Lev_Astov pointed out this would be devastating to sites which rely on revenues from exactly this type of advertising, which most sites do.

0
+ -

Seems somewhat reasonable, but is also highly vague.

There's probably more detail in the actual bill that we are not seeing in that article.  Without enough information I hesitate to pick a side yet. 

0
+ -

i really hope this not to pass

Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: