Sunday, April 21, 2013

Internet Privacy Bill - Could it die before it is even born?

In my earlier post I had raised the question "It is possible that at some point legislation around sharing of data resources might come about or not..." but little did I know that there is a piece of legislation starting the long arduous process of being born.
Reading today's morning San Jose Mercury News (Yes, I still do read the paper editions of news from time to time), the following text caught my attention:
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.
The same article best describes the concerns as articulated by ACLU:
The American Civil Liberties Union, a co-sponsor of the Right to Know Act, accuses the business groups of overreacting to hide their true intentions: to keep out of the public's eye the lucrative practice of amassing personal information on people who use online services, computer apps, social networking sites and other portals that track people's locations, buying habits, favorite foods and movies, and even their sexual orientation.
If data is an asset, which is what it is. And if the data is about the consumer, then the consumer owns the data. And like the right of ownership of a legally created asset is respected in any civilized society, privacy just bestows that right to the owner of the data. If a corporation wants to use this data, they should compensate the consumer just like the consumer compensates (pays) the corporation for buying a product or service from it. Consumers of products/services, who are the producers of information need to have the same rights as producers of goods/services who are the consumers of information produced. Quid pro quo.