free html hit counter What If The Government Regulated Data Collection Practices? - John Battelle's Search Blog

What If The Government Regulated Data Collection Practices?

By - October 06, 2006

TechDirt points to a piece at The Technology Liberation Front about legislation considered in my home state of California:

…the California Initiative For Internet Privacy (CIFIP) is turning up the heat on Google and other search engine provides with threats of legislative campaigns or a push for a ballot initiative regulating data collection.

When it comes to the contentious issue of data retention, search companies are basically damned if they do and damned if they don’t. That is, if they DO collect / retain search terms and records, the privacy zealots go crazy and run to Rep. Ed Markey (or, in this case, California legislators) and ask for new laws strictly limiting what can be collected / retained.

On the other hand, if they DO NOT collect / retain any of this info, then the “law and order” / “we must protect the children” crowd in Congress and state AG offices start breathing fire down their necks and demand *mandatory* data preservation / retention, potentially for lengthy periods of time (and for quite a bit of information).

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4 thoughts on “What If The Government Regulated Data Collection Practices?

  1. garypool says:

    Only the government can collect and store data! Right!
    I think this is ludicrous. What has happened to California since I left? They must have piles of money to even consider being able to enforce the legislation they are considering. Wait a minute isn’t California in a budget crisis? I guess all they have left is threats and they are going to use them, by gosh. Personally I believe the biggest problem with data collection and storage is who has access to that data. (i.e. the Government!)

  2. Joe Hunkins says:

    Like Garypool I say “ludicrous” but for the opposite reason!

    I won’t be shedding any tears for those “damned if they do or don’t” search engines who are raking in billions quarterly in part because they are able to store and use my data without my permission and they won’t give me even a hint of what they do with it.

    There should be legislation and it can be this simple:
    On request, a search engine must provide a user with all information they have that they have associated with the users NAME or the users computer via IP address. They also must provide explicit details of how this user’s personal information is used by that search engine. Failure to do so results in a $100,000 fine to be paid to the user.

  3. Darrell Pruitt DDS says:

    If you are upset that your privacy is betrayed by search engines, you will really be angry when you discover that your personal medical information is shared with over half a million business entities, as well as sold for profit. (see Get angry. Contact Congress. HIPAA’s 2003 amendment is a republican gift to the insurance industry. Just ask your doctor.

  4. Joe Hunkins says:

    Darrell that’s news to me. I find it frustrating and incredibly naive that the debate focuses on potential massive Gov’t abuse (a fairly unlikely scenario) while people ignore the existing hurricane of commercial use of info. I no longer expect privacy and support some commercial use, but I sure as heck want to know when I’m being … USED!