Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Freedom of choice: yes, having options DOES count

I haven't yet read the draft of the new Privacy Bill, but my at-a-glance reaction is simple. It's about time. Whether not anything constructive will actually come of it is, naturally, a whole 'nother matter.

Of course, the digital jackals are already howling at the prospect of losing easy prey. As usual, their howling isn't making any logical sense. Then again, I don't expect jackals, digital or otherwise, to make logical sense. Ravenous animals don't react logically when you try to take their bones away.

"a 'privacy industrial policy' for the Internet would diminish consumer choice"

Erm, excuse me? I utterly fail to see how giving consumers "a simple opt-out", i.e. a choice, diminishes choice. I just. don't. get. it.

Now, I do see where more consumer choice on what personal data may by default be collected, indexed, aggregated, sold, stamped, folded, mutilated, or disseminated on a thousand daisy-chained social network fan pages by friends of friends of causal acquaintances of complete strangers might limit the jackals' choices. And they are, by definition, voracious consumers. Maybe the prospect of going from open buffet to a la carte is the "diminished consumer choice" they're howling about.