This is just like software, as it a group of algorithms that become software of some type. Perhaps we are looking at tackling this issue the wrong way. If all who collect data were to first of all register as a data collect that would give us a master look and a license to collect data. Just like anything else, charge a fee for a license to collect data and this way we have a Federal Registrar that consumers can visit to see who is registered to collect data on the web. At least this way we have a way of knowing who’s doing it. It would also give law enforcement a leg to stand on with a company collecting data without a license. Those who are not serious about it would probably pass on getting a license. The license would be displayed on a a website. This is not a big deal and would generate some revenue as a secondary benefit.
Second of all a listing of all sources of companies, etc that a registered company sells to would be helpful as well so at least Jane Doe knows where the data goes. This would be up to the “reseller”, like that word as that is what it is, to maintain an update. Again with transparency the public should know who’s collecting data and where it goes and a user’s fee for each entity they sell too would be required. This is just like having a server with “CAL” licenses and that concept has been around for a long time, just a little different and all of this would be public record.
I don’t like additional government regulation like the rest of us out there, but this is out of hand today and leads to some steroid marketing that is also out of hand, especially in healthcare, so why not register and start taxing it. Walgreens said their intangible business was worth $800 million, so they could afford as many others could to pay some tax? Again having the availability for the consumer to look up and see who is registered and who they sell to would be a start in the right direction with transparency efforts today. The Opt Out bill is also not out of the question but it all depends on how the bill gets worded and if there are any enforcements available.
When I say charge and license I’m not looking to penalize browsers and what they do for their own needs to make searching easier and better for us as that’s just part of their business but when it comes to selling the profiles or data collected, we now have transactions beyond just using RSS feeds which should not come under this area at all. We all know there’s a certain amount of data collected such as our bank when we are online so they can file and get a license and then if they choose to sell anything, then it’s time to disclose and pay up. Insurance companies, wellness companies, the same thing and there’s a lot of that going around to include medical devices that collect data. The video at the link below from Stanford tells a bit about how this works.
You Are the Product–Privacy Anonymity and Net Neutrality On the Internet - Excellent Stanford University Lecture (Video)
There would also need to be a “non profit” area to where they would pay for a non profit license and then still be required to list their sources to where they share data, such as a University sharing for research and development as the Science folks are sharing data to find cures mostly and not to market, but again have the license displayed and the disclosure of who they share with as well as what kind of information is shared, anonymous data or data to where actual information is used with HIPAA compliant information.
This is just a general suggestion and there’s a lot of room for more input for sure but for those who are selling our information so we can be marketed, tax it and require disclosure. We see press releases all the time with announcements on data sharing so why not have a permanent space on the web to research it and the money generated from licensing those who are going to sell should cover the administrative costs. Technology companies sell our prescription and other data all the time so some transaction money to help keep up a Federal Registry wouldn’t hurt a bit. If a browser is selling data outside their normal internal use then they could also disclose who they sell to.
That’s my 2 cents today on the topic and you can read some of the comments below from Mozilla. If those selling were held accountable and a registry was made it would give enforcement a leg to stand on if one were collecting and selling data without being licensed and again this is not to go after search engines by any means as they are constantly working on their own algorithms to provide better searching tools for us. Let consumers be aware of who is tracking and selling what part of their data today and again with licensing and public disclosure with all having to come out of the closet perhaps some of this would take a natural course and tame down a bit.
Consumers I think would happily welcome the ability to search and find where unsolicited coupons and other such items come from to see if web sites they use frequently are perhaps selling their data and/or profiles:) BD
From Silicon Valley to Washington, privacy is a hot-button issue in the digital age: The more data we give to giants like Facebook and Google, the more advertisers have access to our personal lives, and the more public concern grows.
What to do with all this data is a question that has plagued privacy advocates and stumped government officials. But solutions are coming from companies like Mozilla: Its Firefox browser boasts 400 million users, and has become a powerful leveraging tool. Recently, Mozilla launched "Do Not Track," a tool that gives consumers some control over how much data they're willing to share with third parities; other browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft's Internet Explorer followed suit with similar privacy services.