Proposed privacy legislation outlaws some Google business practices

By

Apple takes privacy seriously
A statement on Apple’s stance toward privacy is baked into iOS.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) published a draft privacy bill this morning that proposes making it harder for companies to track people’s location or collect biometric information about them. 

Apple is a top donor to the CDT, and the company has taken a strong stance on protecting user’s privacy.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right. Physical safety, free expression, access to justice, and economic security depend on it. Yet, under the current patchwork of privacy laws in the U.S., it is impossible for individuals to understand, let only manage, the many ways their data is used,” said CDT President & CEO Nuala O’Connor. “It’s beyond time for Congress to act.”

Apple executives have told Congress this in the past. The company’s VP of software technology, Bud Tribble, told the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee in September, “We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, which should be supported by both social norms and the law.”

Protecting digital privacy

Under the law proposed by this group, companies would only be able to track the precise location of users if it’s required by an application in use. This is aimed at companies like Google that track Android users at all times.

A similar requirement bans storing biometric details without a specific user need. 

The proposed law also gives individuals the right to see the information companies have collected on them, as well the right to dispute some details, such as those that go toward calculating the person’s credit score. 

Businesses must make the information they’ve collected transferable to other companies. A right to have info deleted is also in the CDT’s proposed legislation.

 Many of these suggestions are similar to ones in the recently-passed California Consumer Privacy Act, as well as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Again, this is just a proposal. But the Center for Democracy and Technology has significant financial backing from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and many others, so the US Congress is likely to pay attention to its recommendations when/if it considers privacy legislation.