Interviews/Profiles

Technology evangelist O’Reilly worried about consumer privacy ‘witch hunt’

There are several distinct efforts to craft consumer privacy legislation
currently underway in Congress that would likely apply to online
transactions. Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee unveiled
legislation earlier this month that would introduce security
requirements and require notification of consumers in the event of a
breach.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) is reportedly also working on comprehensive
privacy legislation. In addition, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bob
Bennett (R-Utah) have championed an identity-theft bill for years and
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) introduced
his own privacy bill last month that would require companies to obtain
customers’ consent before sharing their data.

O’Reilly said he has spoken recently with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about how to frame some reasonable uses of private data so the public can understand situations where sharing the information makes sense. Zuckerberg has said in the past that when given the choice, most Facebook users opt to share more information about themselves, not less.

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