Microsoft Lobbying For Data Privacy Laws

    March 21, 2007

A growing concern of today’s average citizen is the security of their data. With so many consumers making purchases online, as well as search engines looking to become more personalized by tracking a user’s web history and search trends, ensuring user privacy and protection is becoming increasingly important to a fast growing segment of the population.

Google recently announced its plans to implement new privacy practices concerning user data, with such information becoming anonymous after a period of 18 to 24 months. While the move is a step in the right direction on the industry level, one wonders when the government might step in and enact privacy legislation of its own.

This is the cry from Microsoft, who over the past several month has released numerous statements and manifestos outlining the current state of user privacy, and what steps could be taken to ensure the security of a user’s data.

In its latest statement on the matter, the company urges lawmakers to step up in developing current legislation to tackle the issue of privacy:

On the legal front, we at Microsoft believe the United States needs an all-inclusive, uniform privacy law that will give consumers more control over their personal data and more reason for confidence in providing information to legitimate businesses and other organizations. With the flow of information becoming increasingly global, we also see a growing need to align U.S. law with current and emerging privacy standards in the rest of the world.

In his report from the Open Data Conference, Loren Feldman of 1938 Media reports that Comcast has been in the business of selling user information to third party advertisers for some time now, and estimates that a single user’s data is worth about forty cents.

So maybe Microsoft is right on the money here by appealing lawmakers to get involved, because if Comcast is any example, the Internet industry sure isn’t going to police itself.