Lawmakers Crack Down on Internet Privacy

Following huge debacles and breeches of privacy this year by Facebook, AT&T and Apple in connection with user identities being leaked with the iPad registration, and Google sniffing around WiFi networks, Senate lawmakers are looking at ways to protect user’s identities and address privacy concerns in a hyper-connected cyberworld. Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller asks if users “fully understand and appreciate what information is being collected about them, and whether or not they are empowered to stop certain practices from taking place.” Lawmakers seem to answer that question with a resounding no as the House is toiling with privacy issues and now the Senate is examining the matter–both houses of the legislature hopes to pass a bill come this Fall.

According to the Washington Post, “The legislative proposals add momentum to a push by consumer groups to create stronger federal rules for how companies such as Facebook, Apple, and Google can track user activity and place ads based on that information.” According to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, companies have to do a better job of self-regulating and to create and enforce privacy measures for consumers else they will see a strong push from Congress for official rules. Leibowitz says that current policies used by tech companies do not necessarily protect the consumers, and due to the confusing nature of the language use many consumers don’t read those notices.

As it stands, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Senator Kerry is working with Democratic Senator Mark Pryor on an online privacy bill, which the two are hoping will get passed early 2011.

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