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Digital Privacy Law Fails in California Senate

| May 27, 2011
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From AP:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The California Senate has rejected a bill designed to increase privacy on social networking sites, amid objections from some of industry’s biggest players.

Senate Bill 242 by Sen. Ellen Corbett would bar social networking websites from automatically revealing a user’s address, phone number and similar information unless there is a clear warning they will do so. Users could opt to display the information if they wish.

The bill received just 16 of the 21 votes it needed to pass the Senate on Friday. Corbett, a Democrat from San Leandro, could bring her bill up again before next week’s deadline.

She says her bill would be the nation’s most far-reaching attempt to control social networking privacy features.


A coalition of web companies that includes Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, Skype, and Zynga opposed the bill. You can read their opposition in this letter (.pdf), sent to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro).

Here’s the full text of the bill. Language from the Legislative Counsel’s Digest:

This bill would prohibit a social networking Internet Web site…from displaying to the public or other registered users any information about a registered user of that Internet Web site, other than the user’s name and city of residence, without the express agreement of the user.

The bill would require a social networking…site to establish a process for new users to set their privacy settings as part of the registration process that explains privacy options in plain language, and to make privacy settings available in an easy-to-use format.

The bill would require a (social networking site) to remove the personal identifying information, as defined, of any registered user, and would require removal of that information regarding a user under 18 years of age upon request by the user’s parent, within 96 hours upon his or her request. This bill would impose a
civil penalty, not to exceed $10,000, for each willful and knowing
violation of these provisions.

Here’s Sen. Corbett discussing the bill on the show 7 live a couple of days ago:

PaidContent also has a good article on the legislation, from May 24.

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Category: Economy, Tech

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