- Personal information is the currency of virtually all social media and a great deal of other online activity
- The users voluntarily trade their data for free use of the services, obviously finding the transaction as beneficial
- Making abuses of privacy rules more difficult is a worthwhile goal, but politicians should allow companies and their customers to address the problem
The United States stands at a regulatory crossroads as Congress debates whether to adopt European-style controls over the use of online personal data – or trust that Facebook, Google, and the like will respond voluntarily (and more efficiently than government) to their customers’ diverse and ever-changing privacy preferences. The wrong decision will secure the market dominance of the current reigning platforms and stifle internet innovation for years to come.
Online privacy and security (or lack thereof) is hardly a new issue, but recent revelations about unauthorized access to personal information from millions of Facebook accounts has prompted Congressional hearings, government investigations, and the rantings of pundits whose knowledge of internet technology would barely fill a tweet.