CA Privacy Bill Defeated – Big Win for Social Networks

    June 7, 2011

Although the Social Networking Privacy Act was a proposed state law in California, it received a lot of attention. The proposed bill would have impacted not only social networks like Facebook, but it would have also affected any Web company that connected people to the Internet, such as Google, eHarmony, and

If passed, the bill would have required these companies to make their user settings private by default. Although it didn’t pass, it was brought before the Senate 3 times. The final 2 votes both came in at 16-21, which defeated the bill.

As consumers, would you like for these services to make their settings private by default? Let us know.

State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett introduced the bill and was very adamant on pushing it through. However, tech companies were also very influential in their opposition to it. They feared that users would quit the registration process, since it would take a long time to customize all their settings.

Tammy Cota, who is the executive director for the Internet Alliance, told WebProNews that legislators often forget that these sites have a global reach involving hundreds of thousands of users. The bill would have required these businesses to pay $10,000 per incident of noncompliance, which could have ran into a substantial amount of money given the large number of users.

Cota, who was pleased that the bill did not pass, said there was “no need for it.”

Although this was a state law, online privacy has been getting a lot of attention from Washington as well with U.S. Senators McCain and Kerry’s Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 and Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011. With all this spotlight, legislators seem very interested in imposing some type of law regarding Internet privacy.

Cota also told us that Senator Corbett would likely revise her bill in an effort to bring it to vote again.

Should online privacy be regulated, or is it fine the way it is?