Rule Are for Thee, Not for Me

Senator Ron Wyden has had enough of consumers’ privacy being violated and has decided to do something:

The Senator’s proposal would dramatically beef up Federal Trade Commission authority and funding to crack down on privacy violations, let consumers opt out of having their sensitive personal data collected and sold, and impose harsh new penalties on a massive data monetization industry that has for years claimed that self-regulation is all that’s necessary to protect consumer privacy.

Wyden’s bill proposes that companies whose revenue exceeds $1 billion per year—or warehouse data on more than 50 million consumers or consumer devices—submit “annual data protection reports” to the government detailing all steps taken to protect the security and privacy of consumers’ personal information.

The proposed legislation would also levy penalties up to 20 years in prison and $5 million in fines for executives who knowingly mislead the FTC in these reports. The FTC’s authority over such matters is currently limited—one of the reasons telecom giants have been eager to move oversight of their industry from the Federal Communications Commission to the FTC.

I read through his proposal [PDF]. Strangely enough the proposal doesn’t mention any punishments or penalties for politicians or other government agents who violate people’s privacy.

Rules are for thee, not for me, ya fuckin’ plebs.

When it comes to surveillance my primary concern is government surveillance. The main reason I’m concerned about private surveillance is because it can turn into government surveillance (either by payment or by a subpoena). If that weren’t the case, I’d be far less concerned because, unlike government surveillance, I can opt out of private surveillance. Moreover, if private surveillance couldn’t turn into government surveillance, a company seeing me do something it didn’t like wouldn’t result in men with guns busting down my door at oh dark thirty to either kidnap or murder me. So any legislation that doesn’t curtail government surveillance is, in my opinion, worthless.