Personal data privacy and Consumer Privacy Bill may meet to give people more control over their personal information is in the horizon. Concern however remains with companies and data brokers having discretion. The proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act, sets some requirements on companies that process personal information. The idea is to establish some best practices of analyzing data. What risks linger remains as key concern.
The Bill leaves companies to establish a ‘code of conduct’ for best practices, but seeks the Federal Trade Commission to oversee that the best practices meet certain open and clear notice requirements to consumers on how their personal information is handled. It is expected that the FTC will have enforcement powers under the Bill.
The Bill, as is, gives the companies too much discretionary leeway to define what is fair and “unfair use” of an individual’s personal information. The Bill lacks enforceable rules.
What remains open an unchecked, is how companies that help marketers identify consumers by their ZIP code, race, ethnicity, social network that reveals if they smoke, gamble, access porn or by diapers and beer. This type of profiling will continue and it is considered to hinder consumers in their employment opportunities and possible acceptance into college.
The legislative challenge is going to be requiring companies to obtain consent prior to collecting personal information. The concern is that the information is collected without consent. It will be difficult to verify if the information is being collected when not operatively used for profiling and marketing purposes and just stored. The Bill’s ability to preempt state laws remains a question.