Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Social Media Not Liking, Not Following Corbett's Privacy Bill

Facebook and Google are just getting into the lobbyist game in Washington which is surprisingly for two companies worth so much to Wall Street and users on Main Street. The two tech giant's rivalry has reached a fever pitch in recent weeks, but as the Wall Street Journal notes they are banding together to thwart two bills in the State Senate, one authored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett.

SB 242 hopes to protect underage
 users of social media like Facebook.
An objection by various social media companies to Corbett's SB 242 on May 16 said the bill "gratuitously singles out social networking sites without demonstration of any harm" while adding "There is no indication that California users of social networking sites are less sophisticated or more vulnerable than those Californians who do not use social networking sites, or that social networking sites are failing to appropriately communicate existing choices to their users."

Corbett's bill would, though, is tailored towards protecting minors who may be inclined to offer more personal information than parents would like. It would allow parents to request information on their underage children and while forcing sites to allow users to make changes to their privacy settings after signing up for the service.

Social media companies like Facebook have stood firm against Corbett in the past. It squashed a similar bill by the San Leandro senator last year. Recently, she charged lobbyists for Facebook for operating in "stealth mode" alleging they passed talking points among members of the judiciary committee. Doing so without registering an objection is against the rules.

The strong opposition by Silicon Valley firms against legislating privacy stems from Web 2.0 adherence to the free flow of personal information from users often for their own benefit. Information on a users preferences for steep discounts for trendy smocks or loyal fanaticism toward the local baseball franchise can help customers. "It may sound paternalistic, but I think people need to understand that sharing information about themselves doesn't necessarily bring them any harm," wrote Larry Magid, a tech writer for the Huffington Post.

As Magid points out, the real problem with legislating the Internet on a state-by-state basis is its not really possible. They don't call it the World Wide Web for nothing.


  1. WOW...this is what our Legislaitive Brain Trusts are working on in Sacramento? I mean...REALLY? Don't we have a Budget Problem? Aren't our k-12 schools, junior colleges and our State college system on the chopping block along with redevelopment and IHSS? And one of our legislators.....State Adultrymember Hayashi and our Senatore who never raised her kids are up in sac working on this type of crap. If you suck as a parent because you are too busy and cannot monitor your kids online use....take away the laptop...iphone and itouch...pretty simple...we need a Bill for that? Maybe we should have a bill against assemblymembers that cheat on their hubby's?

  2. Some online bloggers enjoy their privacy- they wouldn't want it out in the open that they are both communist and homosexual.

  3. 1) Yeah, the Democratic Caucus is trying to prevent those programs from being chopped. Corbett, Hayashi and every single Bay Area Legislator have been voting for a responsible budget since March. Direct your evident anger to the Republicans. Every single one in the Legialature have voted "NO" on a budget plan which would allow the voters of California to decide if we want to continue three taxes we are already paying so that we can avoid more cuts to those programs you mention. What do you want- all State business stops because the Republicans are holding their breaths like petulant children? BTW, some parents are required to work two jobs because of the low-pay jobs Republicans defend as a legitimate outcome of "free market capitalism". Beyond the issues of time avaliable to monitor your children, the point is that parents CANNOT SEE what children have on their Facebook page if they have it set to allow only people they want. I say this as someone who's not a big supporter of this bill, but I can see it is an attempt to respond to an issue Californians have. Way to defend massive corporations, though.

    2) Ghost of Joe McCarthy strikes again! Still an alcoholic in Hell, Joe?