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Old 04-08-2013, 12:34 PM
Populace Populace is offline
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New Online-Data Bill Sets Up Privacy Fight


Silicon Valley is fighting privacy advocates over a California bill, the first of its kind in the nation, that would require companies like Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. to disclose to users the personal data they have collected and with whom they have shared it.

The industry backlash is against the "Right to Know Act," a bill introduced in February by Bonnie Lowenthal, a Democratic assemblywoman from Long Beach. It would make Internet companies, upon request, share with Californians personal information they have collected—including buying habits, physical location and sexual orientation—and what they have passed on to third parties such as marketing companies, app makers and other companies that collect and sell data.

The bill highlights how lawmakers are seeking to update privacy laws. An update of a 10-year-old law focused on the direct-marketing industry, the bill could have national impact because of California's size, and it would bring the state's privacy practices closer to those common in Europe.

"In 2003, the biggest problem people had with privacy was telemarketing," said Ms. Lowenthal. "Today, there are so many different mobile apps that can track location and spending habits that it's time for an update in state law."

A week ago, a coalition of businesses and trade groups wrote to Ms. Lowenthal urging her to "not move forward" with a bill that seeks to impose "costly and unrealistic mandates" that could leave them vulnerable to lawsuits, according to a copy of the letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
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