“Sens. John Kerry and John McCain proposed legislation Tuesday to create a ‘privacy bill of rights’ to protect people from the increasingly invasive commercial data-collection industry,” Julia Angwin reports for The Wall Street Journal.
“The bill, labeled the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011, would impose new rules on companies that gather personal data, including offering people access to data about them, or the ability to block the information from being used or distributed,” Angwin reports. “Companies would have to seek permission before collecting and sharing sensitive religious, medical and financial data with outside entities.”
Angwin reports, “The move comes amid widening scrutiny of the commercial data-gathering industry, which has been chronicled in The Wall Street Journal’s ‘What They Know’ series. In his comments, Sen. McCain, an Arizona Republican, read an excerpt from the Journal series revealing that 56 popular cellphone applications transmitted information about users to outsiders without users’ awareness or consent. ‘Customers must have control of their data when it is transferred to a third party,’ Sen. McCain said.”
“Some provisions of the bill changed from a draft the senators circulated a month ago. The bill no longer requires data gatherers to seek permission for sharing any data with outsiders—now the requirement is only for sensitive data,” Angwin reports. “The senators also added an exemption for companies that gather data through others, but have an “established business relationship” with a customer and are ‘clear, conspicuous and visible’ to the customer.”
Read more in the full article here.