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June 21, 2006

Tech Companies Lobby Congress for Federal Privacy Law

Microsoft, Google, and other tech heavyweights are calling on Congress to pass a uniform privacy law for consumers.  The fact that the call came from those in the business of storing and utilizing such data actually got the attention of Congress.  Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the said he would introduce such legislation.

Some business interests oppose the concept.  Free market think tank Progress and Freedom Foundation says there are adequate market controls in place such as a loss of reputation or lost profits when a company abuses such a position.  Could he be referring to AT&T, in the news for cooperating with the government on wholesale data turnover to the government through by now not-so-secret rooms housed in San Francisco and possibly other places?  David Lazarus of the San Francisco Chronicle notes that AT&T just revised its privacy policy to favor itself over consumers in turning over private information to the government.  Continued services with AT&T is contingent on accepting the policy. One also wonders if there will be a legislative back door for the government to legalize getting exactly what they want from business and Internet companies.  Stay tuned for details.

News on the national privacy policy is available in CNET, Ars Technica, the Washington Post, and Information Week.  David Lazarus' fine article on AT&T and their heavy handed privacy policy is here.

June 21, 2006 | Permalink

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