Even in an age when people tell the world exactly where they are by checking in on Foursquare, and divulge endless amounts of personal information on their Facebook pages, they still have a right to privacy.
So say Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz, and John Kerry, D-Mass., in an op-ed for The Hill, in which they lay out their plan for bipartisan legislation known as the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights.
“Our legislation will ensure that businesses collecting personal information secure that information, tell people why their data is being collected and allow people to have a say in whether they want their information used,” they write. “If these companies turn around and transfer this information, any agreements they have made to secure the privacy of their consumers’ information would travel along with it. And if someone requests a company to stop using personal information, they finally have the legal power to make that demand.”
The senators say the legislation is necessary after “more than 250 million Americans received the frightening news that their personal information, collected by many retailers where they shop, was stolen by hackers routinely,” and after 61 million Americans who own a smartphone were told that their travels and movements are being tracked by companies.
“Today the data collectors are setting the rules,” they write. “Companies can harvest our personal information and keep it for as long as they like. They can use it and sell it without asking permission. You shouldn’t have to be a computer genius to figure out how to opt out of a company’s information sharing policy.”