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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday November 27 2019, @01:15PM   Printer-friendly
from the only-have-to-win-once dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Senate takes another stab at privacy law with proposed COPRA bill

Perhaps the third time's the charm: a group of Senate Democrats, following in the recent footsteps of their colleagues in both chambers, has introduced a bill that would impose sweeping reforms to the current disaster patchwork of US privacy law.

The bill (PDF), dubbed the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA), seeks to provide US consumers with a blanket set of privacy rights. The scope and goal of COPRA are in the same vein as Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in May 2018.

Privacy rights "should be like your Miranda rights—clear as a bell as to what they are and what constitutes a violation," Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who introduced the bill, said in a statement. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) also co-sponsored the bill.

The press release announcing the bill also includes statements of support from several consumer and privacy advocacy groups, such as Consumer Reports, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology, and the NAACP.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by fadrian on Wednesday November 27 2019, @01:56PM (7 children)

    by fadrian (3194) on Wednesday November 27 2019, @01:56PM (#925334) Homepage

    Sadly, the list of D's following the co-sponsors names will ensure this legislation dies a speedy death in front of Moscow Mitch's committees. And, if by some miracle it happens to get past those hurdles, it will never get to the floor for a vote.

    Wake me up when the Democrats retake the Senate.

    --
    That is all.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Wednesday November 27 2019, @02:10PM (1 child)

      by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday November 27 2019, @02:10PM (#925336)

      Also, any supporters could be branded as "COPRAphiliacs" (don't Google that at work).

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 2) by J_Darnley on Wednesday November 27 2019, @02:13PM

        by J_Darnley (5679) on Wednesday November 27 2019, @02:13PM (#925337)

        Dammit. You beat me to the joke.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @02:14PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @02:14PM (#925338)

      And don't forget that the Mitchster [twimg.com] has held up something like 400 bills [nationalmemo.com] passed by the House [thehill.com] since the beginning of 2019.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @05:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @05:00PM (#925382)

        That article is disingenuous in at least two ways.

        The first is that it lies about the bill count. Here [congress.gov] is a list of all bills introduce by the house. The exact count, as of now, is 335. Unfortunately there's no clear date filter but it's pretty safe to say the number was significantly lower 2 months ago when that article was written. 300 is an absurd number of bills, well over 1 per day. There's no reason to exaggerate, but sensationalists can't resist sensationalizing even when the truth itself is already pretty absurd!

        The second, and more important, are the bills themselves. Look through the bills listed in the above link. You'll find some genuinely good bills that have not made their way through the senate yet, but they're vastly outnumbered by a large number of bills that clearly have no chance of passing along the lines of the 'let's take in a bunch of syrian "moderate rebels" as refugees act.'

        Democracy doesn't work when people don't work together. I think the behavior this paper references is not only unproductive but actively counterproductive. How is introducing on the order of tens of laws per day (that 335 is a small subset of all bills introduced) conducive to creating a society that has any clue whatsoever what's going on with their nation's legal and political systems? I think it also even shows a disinterest in actually trying to get these things passed. Both parties want various things. They could compromise and make a deal. Instead we just get rampant trolling.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @05:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @05:34PM (#925392)

      Yup, like climate change protecting privacy is now going to be a "liberal issue."

      We can't protect your privacy because then those damn commies win!

    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Wednesday November 27 2019, @08:56PM

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday November 27 2019, @08:56PM (#925450) Journal

      I remember a time when they did have control of the senate, and they let everybody spy on us back then too, did nothing about the Patriot Act, let the telcos and NSA spy like crazy, etc, etc. Going back to the same democrats will not help one bit. They are passing this feel good bullshit, as a form of campaigning, knowing it will die, because they don't really want to protect our privacy.

      If you want change, then independents will have to take over the senate, and the house of course.The DNC/GOP will only give you more of what you already have

      --
      La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 28 2019, @08:53AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 28 2019, @08:53AM (#925596)

      Wake me up when the Democrats retake the Senate.

      Watching US politics from EU, you seem to be under some false impression that in that case the democrats would actually propose this legislation again.
      Neither party proposes good bills for the public good when it actually has a chance to pass. Now, they will probably do something to try and catch up with GDPR, but it will be much more corporate friendly than what they are proposing kowing its dead in the water.

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday November 27 2019, @02:47PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 27 2019, @02:47PM (#925343) Journal

    When either chamber of congress is in session, the doors must be closed, the room must be hermetically sealed.

    Why? Because. Or something. Think of the children! Etc

    --
    With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @03:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @03:02PM (#925348)

      When either chamber of congress is in session, the doors must be closed, the room must be hermetically sealed.

      Why? Because. Or something. Think of the children! Etc

      History shows you to be quite correct! [ambians.com]

      Fortune's nomination for All-Time Champion and Protector of Youthful
      Morals goes to Representative Clare E. Hoffman of Michigan. During an
      impassioned House debate over a proposed bill to "expand oyster and
      clam research," a sharp-eared informant transcribed the following
      exchange between our hero and Rep. John D. Dingell, also of Michigan.

      DINGELL: There are places in the world at the present time where we are
                        having to artificially propagate oysters and clams.
      HOFFMAN: You mean the oysters I buy are not nature's oysters?
      DINGELL: They may or may not be natural. The simple fact of the matter
                        is that female oysters through their living habits cast out
                        large amounts of seed and the male oysters cast out large
                        amounts of fertilization ...
      HOFFMAN: Wait a minute! I do not want to go into that. There are many
                        teenagers who read The Congressional Record.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @05:03PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @05:03PM (#925383)

    There is a legal tactic where you talk past a crime to give the impression it is legal. If you look at what this bill talks past, this bill is horrible.

    For example, it says more or less that carriers can do anything they want with data that they "de-identify". The problem with that, is that to de-identify data you first have to capture it, and then process it against a complex set of rules. Which is to say before you even get to the point where this piece of legislation applies, the carrier has ALREADY committed felony wiretapping. And who among Congress are going to audit those processing systems, and ensure that it isn't processing for business purposes during the "de-identifying" process?

    All information exchanges on the Internet are contracts; mostly regarding the dissemination of intellectual property. The "privacy" of the communication, is a question of how many people are privy to that contract, and whether or not disclosure was consensual.

    When Comcast data mines your DNS, they have interfered with a private communication of a lawful contract between two parties. This is not different than compiling and selling a list of every phone call that comes and goes from a law office. Further the parties may be of a protected legal status such as children.

    There are certain ideas that do not compile in English. Which is why the tech sector invented reams of new definitions to describe what they do. The above law tries to describe things without actually using any of the terms that were coined for the purpose of describing them.

    Think for a moment about the person who looks at something as complicated as the Internet, and thinks that they don't have to adapt themselves (at least a little) in order to understand it. The authors would probably say: "its all greek", when looking at technical documentation. What they aren't getting is that when it comes to tech, English is the Greek, not the other way around. Our stuff is more logical than your stuff is.

    This bill is the equivalent of a literature professor writing a paper on astrophysics, while consulting with the Pope as a primary source. The only rational motive for such a thing, is to obstruct justice and reasoned debate.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @07:32PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @07:32PM (#925430)

      This bill is the equivalent of a literature professor writing a paper on astrophysics, while consulting with the Pope as a primary source. The only rational motive for such a thing, is to obstruct justice and reasoned debate.

      I call bullshit on your "analysis."

      The bill provides enormously more protections for Americans than currently exists. Is it perfect? No. Does it do everything I'd like it to do? No.

      It does require opt-in, or at least prominently displayed opt-outs for many types of data.
      It requires documentation and reporting on how data is collected and used.
      It restricts how companies can use or sell data.
      It requires companies to delete your data upon request.
      It allows you to sue, *in any court* if your data has been misused. None of that arbitration crap.
      It forbids companies from requiring you to waive your rights to opt-out, sue, have your data deleted, etc. in order to use whatever service they provide.
      There's much more, as you well know (if you actually read the bill past the definitions, I have my doubts about that).

      It's not perfect. It's not even great. But it's much better than what we have now.

      Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @10:28PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @10:28PM (#925473)

        All of the stuff your talking about isn't defined in a way that can be clearly compared against evidence.

        A lot of people will look at this law and think they know what it says. But they won't know how it translates into telecom regulations or tort law. My initial impression is that just getting lawful standing for litigation based on this law will be extraordinarily difficult. This law is not written like commercial law. It isn't written like telecommunications law either. But it presumes to speak authoritatively about both. Which is why it is confounding to the purposes to which it is authored.

        So yeah. The law says sort of what you said. But you probably said it better than the law does. I read it thinking to myself: "What cases would this law support?". I got to the end of the document without tallying a single one.

        "Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

        I guess we define "good" differently. In my mind "good" would mean that the law would be useful for the purposes of civil rights litigation. I can think of a couple of ways this law would confound a claimant. I can't think of any where this law would measure clearly against presented evidence. It is possible to deny ground, while conceding even more ground somewhere else.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @07:41PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27 2019, @07:41PM (#925433)

    They are quick at stabbing.

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