Who Will Shape Consumer Privacy Laws Using Common Sense Standards?


The 21st century can be classified as the \”Technology Industrial Revolution Era,\” with data being the market\’s driving force.  Companies leading the driving force must now generate a starting point from which to shape laws designed to protecting consumer\’s privacy. 

The Dirksen Senate Office Building was where the hearing \”Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy,\” originated. The meeting was led by U.S. Senator John Thune, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. \”This hearing will provide leading technology companies and Internet service providers an opportunity to explain their approaches to privacy, how they plan to address new requirements from the European Union and California, and what Congress can do to promote clear privacy expectation without hurting innovation,\” says Chairman Thune.

This era has amassed $1 Trillion dollars in revenue despite not having a framework or formula for protecting consumer privacy.

Everyone contributes to the Technology Industrial Revolution whether demanding accessibility to websites and applications or supplying the products and services. Shaping the laws must include both aspects; creativity and innovation.  This era has amassed $1 Trillion dollars in revenue despite not having a framework or formula for protecting consumer privacy.  Consumer data increasingly floats in the cloud and the Internet of things (IOT) with limited protections for consumers. The only safeguard at this point is navigating to find a way to opt-out.  The IOT also allows for more transmission of private information that needs to be secured and stored.

Since this wasn\’t a \”gotcha hearing,\” companies leading the Technology Industrial Revolution Era such as Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Google,\"\" and Twitter had an opportunity to give their testimonies addressing ways they currently protect consumer\’s privacy. Their message included a willingness to sketch out a solution with the exact limits and conditions for securing consumer\’s privacy beyond the current navigating to opt-out. 

There should also be guidelines for protecting consumer privacy, advertisers, creation and innovation

Whether or not the companies are sketching a shape that would be well rounded, confusion can arise as to who controls consumer\’s privacy and how to access those controls. This potentially raises a conflict between the data owner, the consumer,  and third parties wanting the data.  There should also be guidelines for protecting consumer privacy, advertisers, creation and innovation, and allowing the consumer to control and access privacy preferences more easily. Sharing information should be at the consumer\’s discretion.

The European Union has shaped a standard the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for companies to comply with.  The regulation lays down rules relating to :

  • the protection of natural persons with regard to processing of personal data
  • the free movement of personal data, and
  • protecting fundamental rights and freedoms of natural personal and in particular their right to the protection of personal data

This regulation applies to the processing of personal data wholly or partly by automated means. In accordance with the EU standard personal data is defined as information \”relating to an identified or identifiable natural person in reference to an identifier such as name, an identification number, location data, and online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiologic, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.\”

Those regulations are rather straightforward and have been set since May of this year for compliance.  Considering those regulations haven\’t been well received in the US, California lawmakers composed a bill SB822 \”California Internet Consumer Protection & Net Neutrality Act of 2018,\” co-written by Democratic Senator Scott Wiener.  The purpose of the bill seeks to enact various net neutrality provisions adopted from FCC regulations that were repealed in 2017.  \”Internet Openness,\” is another name for net neutrality, a concept that the Internet highway should be open and equally available to all, and that no internet \”traffic\” should be given preference or prioritized over other traffic.  SB822 would make it unlawful for internet service providers (ISP) to engage in the following :

  • blocking lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management practices
  • impairing or degrading lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, application, or service, or use of a non-harmful device
  • engaging in paid prioritization
  • unreasonably interfering with or unreasonably disadvantaging either an end user\’s ability to select

However, that bill didn\’t fully protect a consumer\’s private information. For this reason Senators, Troy Singleton and Joseph F. Vitale introduced S2834.  The bill requires commercial Internet websites and online services to notify customers of collection and disclosure of personal identifiable information and allows customers to opt out.  The bill requires that an operator who collects the personally identifiable information of a customer to clearly and conspicuously post on its Internet website or online service home page a link entitled \”Do Not Sell My Personal Information\”. This link enables a customer to opt out of the disclosure of their personally identifiable information.

Understanding privacy laws is a serious matter for all consumers. 


These bills along with regulations should be of some assistance to these leading technology companies in shaping laws to safeguard consumer privacy.  Understanding privacy laws is a serious matter for all consumers.  Most recently, a month before the midterm elections, Facebook announced another data breach affecting an estimated 50 million users.  Twitter has found many bugs ready to corrupt their platform, and Google+ cannot control program glitches- so getting rid of the services all together is their solution. 

With all these latest mishaps of data management and security, it leaves room for many questions, and exactly what constitutes as trust regarding the security of consumer privacy.  Hopefully, these companies will be more accountable with data management, along with privacy laws protecting consumer data so Congress can give a \”qualified yes\” or \”qualified no\” to their standards of safeguarding consumer\’s privacy.

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