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Internet Privacy Legislation Looms as Cloud Computing Grows

Rep. Jackie Speier Trys to Get Tough with Trackers

Six weeks into the new year, it's already time to check on a few of my fearless predictions for 2011.

Number 1, for example, stated that Northern Africa will emerge as an "IT and Cloud hotspot." I don't know how the words "social networking" and "revolution" got dropped from that prediction. I'll blame it on my editors.

Meanwhile, numbers 5 & 6 noted how the EU will get tough on Internet privacy and how the United States will ignore the issue.

As it turns out, Rep. Jackie Speier, whose district borders Silicon Valley, introduced a privacy bill this week that would enable the Federal Trade Commisison (FTC) to prevent online advertisers from tracking people without their consent.

Failure to adhere to it "would be considered an unfair or deceptive act punishable by law," according to Speier's office.

Speier said the legislation places "privacy over profit," a bit of grandstanding that furthers the notion that many liberal politicians in the US are anti-business.

It seems companies found ways to be profitable before the age of incessant online tracking; most should be able to do so today. Privacy and profit are not mutually exclusive goals.

A second bill, introduced for a second time by Rep. Bobby L. Rush of Illinois, aims to create federal standards about how data can be collected and used.

An industry hack from the Interactive Advertising Bureau has already announced his opposition, saying the legislation "ignores the fundamental operations of the Internet." It seems to me that the legislation recognizes one of the fundamental operations of the Internet and aims to change it for the better.

Who knows, maybe the EU will follow the standard set by the US? I'd be very happy to be dead wrong in my original predictions.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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