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Google fears opt-in privacy regulation

Mark Little | June 30, 2010
Privacy debacles from Google and Facebook are raising public awareness of the Internet giants reliance on our data to make their money, as well as the liberties being taken with our privacy.

Pressure for more transparency and control of personal data

If regulators were to move ahead with such opt-in regulation, anything but the most subtle and nuanced implementation would suffice. Otherwise, as Google fears, it could become a drag on the consumers Internet experience. That said, what is the problem with well-crafted regulation that allows users to opt in to privacy settings that can identify them as a natural person (EU directive speak for a real identifiable person)? After all, this would not impact the collection of data such as IP addresses and browser types.

We believe that, for the sake of the consumers privacy and Internet experience, any first regulatory step should not be about force feeding opt in or defending the current opt-out methodology, but about enforcing a satisfactory level of transparency and control as an essential first phase of regulation. This way, users can start to learn and understand where their data goes and how it is used. Starting with vastly improved transparency and control of personal data might then avoid the need for opt-in regulation, deploying it instead as recommended best practice a far more nuanced approach that even Google might adopt.

We cant escape the fact that the recent appalling privacy debacles have set the opt-in regulatory bandwagon running, and along with it demands for greater transparency of personal data use from both governments and the public. The online industry should expect intense pressure for more transparency and control of personal data not so far down the line.

 

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