Protecting one’s online privacy should be the top priority for both consumers and governments alike. Unfortunately, things do not always work this way, as logical legislators often seek ways to erode data privacy whenever they can. However, things are a bit different in Nevada, as the local government wants to impose tighter privacy protection for all online activity. An interesting turn of events that will appease privacy advocates.
Nevada Values Online Privacy
It is good to know some legislators are still taking consumer privacy seriously. Over the past few years, there have been numerous incidents – in the US and internationally – regarding governments trying to diminish user privacy. Some people even proposed putting a backdoor in manufacturer’s smartphones, which would give the government unrestricted access to everything consumers are doing at any given time.
Luckily, there are still government officials who acknowledge we need consumer privacy more than ever right now. The local senate is looking to approve a bill that offers consumers an increased degree of privacy compared to what they are used to right now. This bill especially pertains to online privacy, as consumers spend the vast majority of their daily lives online these days.
This proposal, known as Senate Bill 538, requires every website to notify users when their personal data is collected. This could result in most websites showing two banners. The first banner talks about the introduction of cookies, which users have to manually accept or decline. This proposal could introduce a second banner asking user consent to collect sensitive information. An interesting way of thinking, even though very few people would read such notifications in the first place.
What this bill aims to introduce as well is how any violator of this new rule will be subject to punishment. It is unclear what level of punishment violators can expect, although it seems safe to assume a financial penalty is among the possibilities. Right now, most companies and services collect user information without warning, and they sell this information to advertisers around the world.
Things have been heating up among government officials discussing privacy topics as of late. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner recently made major headlines by suggesting ISPs should be able to sell people’s private data whenever they feel like it. In his opinion, “nobody is forced to use the internet” if they don’t agree with his proposal. Such short-sightedness will only create a bigger gap between political desires and consumers.
It remains to be seen whether or not Senate Bill 538 will be approved or not. If it is, this will be a major victory for consumers and privacy advocates alike. However, this would also represent one of the 50+ US states taking appropriate action to protect consumer data. There is still a lot of work to be done, and getting everybody on the same page appears to be virtually impossible right now.
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