Rather than regulating (or even banning) technology with the hope that this will generate more privacy, policy should focus on the specific behaviors that are the problem. If policymakers are concerned about employers using private information on social networks to make hiring decisions, they should ban hiring managers from asking applicants for their Facebook or Twitter account login information. Or if policymakers are concerned about insurance companies using genetic information from individuals or family members to set premiums and deny coverage, then they should prohibit insurers from using this information for these particular purposes. By creating targeted rules focused on specific behaviors, policymakers can avoid the unintended spillover effects that come from regulating technologies and better ensure that consumers are protected from actual harms.
Location Privacy Legislation is Move in Wrong Direction: Part 1 – User Notice and Choice
It has become fairly common for privacy advocates to trot out the “it’s creepy” and “think of the children” arguments whenever they want to pass privacy legislation. But when pressed they have a hard time showing any actual harms or showing how the benefits of implementing privacy legislation outweigh the costs. Given that there has been a tremendous amount of innovation based on location data and likely much more to come, Congress should be wary of interfering, especially since current measures offer consumers sufficient protection, notice and choice.
Repeat After Me: “Do Not Track is NOT Do Not Call”
While it is true that Do Not Track and Do Not Call have a similar name, the similarity ends there. There are two major differences between Do Not Call and Do Not Track. The first is that advertising does not pay for ‘free content’ on your telephone, but it does pay for this on the Internet. The telephone system would continue to work as we know it without telemarketing; the Internet that we have today does not work without advertising. The second is that telemarketing calls are an annoying interruption for most people, while targeted web ads are innocuous.