The New York Times’ series last month, “One nation, tracked,” resolves to a clear and fundamental takeaway: “Congress has to step in to protect Americans’ needs as consumers and rights as citizens.”
We could not agree more.
Last month, Privacy for America – a coalition of trade organizations and companies representing a broad cross-section of the American economy including the advertising industry – released a detailed and comprehensive framework for federal privacy legislation. It’s by far the most wide-ranging proposal from business and internet groups to date, and it takes a more direct and consumer protective approach to not only privacy law in general, but to addressing the kinds of harms referenced in the Times’ series on precise location data.
For example, the proposal would explicitly prohibit the collection, use, or transfer of a person’s precise location data without their affirmative, opt-in consent. It would require that service providers secure contracts with data vendors they partner with to confirm that vendors’ use of data is consistent with promises made to consumers when the information was collected.
It would also outlaw the use of personal data for stalking – and importantly, the supply of data to others with reason to know it would be used for that purpose. And it would give consumers the right to access and delete geolocation data that a company may have previously collected on them.
It’s been clear for months now that Congress must step up and pass a national privacy law that provides real protections to all Americans. We hope the Times’ series helps push lawmakers in that direction.