Should the US adopt EU style privacy regulation?

April 23, 2013 0 Comments Bloggies by Graham Penrose

Companies are watching you. They want to know where you go on the Web, what you buy and what causes you support—with the hope of sending you targeted offers based on your preferences and lifestyle choices. But who is watching over these businesses? Who is making sure they aren't misusing personal data or breaking privacy promises they make to customers?

In Europe, there are strict rules about what companies can and can't do in terms of collecting, using, disclosing and storing personal information, and governments are pushing to make the regulations even stronger. That has prompted renewed debate about whether it is time for the U.S. to toughen its relatively lax privacy regulations.

In one camp are those who believe the U.S. government should refrain from meddling. They say the lack of privacy restrictions in the U.S. has encouraged innovation in the online-marketing industry, which is still evolving, and they question whether a Congress that isn't capable of passing a budget can be trusted with crafting complex privacy legislation.

The U.S.'s experiment with self-regulation has been a failure, say those who believe Europe's approach to privacy is superior. By trusting industry to police itself, the U.S. has created a situation where consumers have little control over personal data and few remedies when they find their privacy has been invaded.

See the debate - for and against - at the Wall Street Journal.