Thursday, May 6, 2010

Section 6 of the Proposed Internet Privacy Bill - What Does It Mean?

Section 6 of Rep. Rick Boucher's proposed internet privacy bill almost appears to have been included as an afterthought. Moreover, the section is so broadly written that it can be interpreted to regulate a wide range of companies that collect, use or distribute spatial data.

Section 6(a) is set forth below. I would be interested in your thoughts on exactly what is to be regulated.

"Sec. 6 Use of Location-Based Information

(a) IN GENERAL - Except as provided in section 222(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 222(d), any provider of a product or service that uses location-based information shall not disclose such location-based information concerning the use of such product or service without that user's express opt-in consent. A user's express opt-in consent to an application provider that relies on a platform offered by a commercial mobile service provider shall satisfy the requirements of this subsection"

1 comment:

Jay said...

I guess this is a bill going after Facebook's recent privacy issues????

I don't think the wording does a good job of dealing with defining providers of location based information and users and products.

Twitter is an example (you could insert any microblogging service) where a single twitter user is the product. And he/she/it can also be providing location based information about of other twitter users in addition to their own location information.

IANAL, but based on the wording...I would think I need to get my friends to "opt-in" before I tweet "I'm hanging out a with @ @ and <@person>!" So I would agree that the wording of the proposed bill is overly broad!

Also, wouldn't some location information be protected as free speech? How would this affect journalists who microblog (Twitter,, etc)?

I mention because that's Canadian and serious microbloggers always have an account along w/ their twitter account(so that they can still blog when there's a blue fail whale). Now you have jurisdictional challenges. What if the next social media phenom is in Malta?

With the application provider not always being the location info provider. Users potentially would need to opt-in several times for the same location information.

With Google Latitude, you have to opt-in and I think this works well (with Google latitude, you control not only "if" you share your LI but also how accurate that LI will be.

What about 3rd party apps that use a Google API? So those would require their own opt-in consent?