Thursday, February 09, 2006

Congressman proposes legislation to regulate retention of personal information

Here is evidence that some legislators are getting concerned about the amount of pesonal information being retained by companies:

Congressman Edward Markey - February 8, 2006- Markey Launches Legislation to Prevent Industry Warehousing of Consumer Data:

February 8, 2006- Markey Launches Legislation to Prevent Industry Warehousing of Consumer Data

Washington, D.C. –Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), the ranking Democrat on the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today introduced the Eliminate Warehousing of Consumer Internet Data Act of 2006 – designed to strengthen consumers’ Internet privacy and prevent companies from storing personal information for indefinite periods of time.

“In this digital information age, personal identifiers are the keys which unlock the personal lives and valuable possessions of millions of Americans. Internet companies are often able to glean personal information through a computer user’s surfing and searching of Internet sites. Such entities should not hoard these personal identifiers in databases that often hold the imprints of millions of individuals and their Internet use. This warehoused personal information about consumers’ Internet use should not be needlessly stored to await compromise by data thieves or fraudsters, or disclosure through judicial fishing expeditions.” said Rep. Markey, who is also the author of H.R. 1078, “The Social Security Number Protection Act,” a bill aimed at protecting consumers from the abuse of the purchase and sale of social security numbers.

“Technology is the engine which will drive our economy into the next century, but the success of this technology balances on the public trust. If 2005 was the year of the data breach, I am going to make sure that 2006 is the year of safeguarding the privacy of American citizens by introducing legislation to prevent the stockpiling of private citizens personal data. My bill will require that the owners of Internet websites destroy warehoused information that is obsolete. We must stop companies from unnecessarily storing the building blocks of American citizens’ private lives,” Markey concluded.

Rep. Markey’s bill would require owners of Internet websites to destroy obsolete data that can be used to individually identify a consumer, including credit card numbers, bank numbers, and date of birth, home address and Social Security numbers. The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission to set standards and enforce this act.

The provision introduced by Rep. Markey is the same standard that Congress has adopted for information gathered by cable companies about individual viewing and subscription habits, and it better balances the tension between the commercial operations of Internet search engines and the privacy concerns of all Americans.

For information on Representative Markey’s work to protect consumer privacy, check out:

Of course, the bill may not go anywhere but it is evidence that not only are online paranoids concerned about this stuff.

Thanks to beSpacific for the link and to Steve Matthews for pointing it out.

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