Richard Bennett, a Silicon Valley network architect and technical consultant, offers some commentary in The Register today about what he characterizes as a “fit of temporary sanity” in Washington over regulating online behavioral advertising. From his commentary:
The new consensus dictates that the key issues are the protection of archived information from abuse, consumer notification about what’s held by whom and how it’s used, and the ability to have archived information erased. In the course of the discussion I suggested that consumers need periodic reminders of which services are building databases on their behaviour and the ability to have them erased. This notion found favour with the committee and the other witnesses.
While Washington continues to host fanatics on both sides of the policy spectrum, the current mood is one of pragmatism and regulatory restraint. While Obama Administration figure Susan Crawford and members of Congress with close ties to Google (primarily Silicon Valley congresswomen Lofgren and Eshoo) continue to promote wild-eyed, Utopian notions of net neutrality that simply protect the search monopoly’s position, my sense is that they’re outnumbered by pragmatists who would be pleased to allow a lightly-regulated market and the public relations machinery of the public interest organizations to correct egregious practices wherever they’re found.