As federal regulators sharpen their focus on big tech, expect to see and hear more from Rep. Ro Khanna, a Silicon Valley congressman who is shaping legislation with a Republican counterpart that is tantamount to an internet Bill of Rights.
Khanna, (D., Calif.), is dubious of major overhauls of Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, all of which may be subject to investigations by either the Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission, according to multiple reports. Echoing the sentiment of antitrust experts, Khanna said investigations should be executed “with surgical precision and not with a sledgehammer.”
Khanna is working with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), a vocal critic of social-media companies, and others on the framework of legislation that would offer sweeping data-privacy laws in the form of network neutrality, greater transparency in data-collection practices by tech companies, and opt-in consent for data collection. McCarthy and Khanna, who co-sponsored a law in 2017 that established tech apprenticeships for veterans, are looking at measures to keep “foreign bad actors” from abusing tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter Inc.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote early last month, “As always, we’ll get to the goal, bipartisan privacy legislation, eventually, as the U.S. constitutional system works its unparalleled 231-year-old magic.”
Last year, before a global body of privacy regulators, Apple CEO Tim Cook laid out four principles that he believes should guide privacy legislation:
First, the right to have personal data minimized. Companies should challenge themselves to strip identifying information from customer data or avoid collecting it in the first place.
Second, the right to knowledge—to know what data is being collected and why.
Third, the right to access. Companies should make it easy for you to access, correct and delete your personal data.
And fourth, the right to data security, without which trust is impossible.
Here’s hoping that 2019 is the year when the right to privacy to be restored. May our elected officials find the will to resist the lobbyist onslaught from the likes of privacy-trampling Google and Facebook, personal data abusers.