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Effective December 31, 2012, articles are no longer being updated on this web site.
The site is now maintained as an historical archive, covering articles from the period 1999 to 2012.


TIME HAS COME FOR U.S. PRIVACY LAW

Source: Business 2.0

Posted on January 23, 2001

      We media types are a competitive bunch, so it's the rare day when we deign to compliment our rivals. But I'd like to tip my hat to our competitors over at Red Herring for their latest cover story on Internet privacy.

      Regular readers of this column know that I take the issue of online privacy seriously. So I could not agree more with Red Herring that it's time to pass legislation governing online privacy. And we are not alone. Last week, the American Electronics Association, the largest IT group in the United States, reversed its position opposing such legislation and called on the government to set rules on how companies collect, use, and disseminate consumer information on the Internet. The association's change of heart will undoubtedly motivate Congress to act on one of the dozen online privacy bills percolating on Capitol Hill.

      Still, there remain opponents to such a measure--network advertisers like DoubleClick still argue that self-regulation is workable. That's no surprise given that DoubleClick's business model involves compiling and distributing consumer profiles to its corporate customers. And there are other media that agree: eCompany Now recently urged Washington to abstain from passing a privacy law for fear that it "would crush some of the more promising Web enterprises."

      Hogwash! In a speech last month in New York, IBM CEO Lou Gertsner pointed out that the exact opposite is true. "Trust is the most fundamental element of branding," he said, "and if we do not act responsibly on this matter then we run the risk of choking off this entire industry." The bottom line: Establish ground rules for online privacy now so Internet firms can get on with their primary mission--serving their customers.

By Edward Robinson, senior writer for Business 2.0




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