Jun 232010
 June 23, 2010  Posted by  Laws

Danielle Citron writes:

On the Hill today, Chris Wolf and Jules Polonetsky, co-chairs of the think tank The Future of Privacy, moderated a discussion about the notice-and-choice Boucher bill (see my post here) with its co-sponsors Representatives Rick Boucher and Cliff Stearns.  Of note, the Representatives shared what motivated them to write the bill.  Both seemingly saw the bill as honoring the American ethos of the “lone-rights bearer” (in the words of Mary Ann Glendon’s brilliant Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse).  Boucher underscored that Americans are “exceptional” in their interest in individual rights, that we differ from other countries’ more “community-centered” ethos.  As Boucher explained, the notice-and-choice privacy bill would empower individuals to make meaningful choices about their privacy tastes.  This, in turn, would inspire greater trust in e-commerce providers and encourage business.  Stearns warned of the “disturbing” profiling that online (and presumably offline) companies do.  He noted that with such profiles, online providers and advertisers could manipulate our behavior.  For Stearns, these practices risked the “mathematical modeling of humanity.”  As Stearns explained, the bill would empower Americans to learn about these practices and make educated choices about the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information.

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