The trade group NetChoice is joining advertisers in criticizing an online privacy bill introduced late last month by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
“On its face, the BROWSER Act seems like pro-consumer privacy legislation. But it’s actually an awful deal for Americans who’ve come to depend on free online content and services,” NetChoice’s senior counsel Carl Szabo writes in an op-ed in The Hill. NetChoice’s members include Google, AOL, Yahoo and Facebook.
Szabo adds that the measure “would erase $340 billion in advertising revenue from American websites over the next five years.”
Online trade associations, including CompTIA, the Internet Association and NetChoice, also met with Hastings to voice opposition to the measure.
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Under that change, the state would be “educating instead of penalizing consumers,” Amy Stephens, principal in the public policy and regulation practice at Dentons in Denver, told Bloomberg BNA April 17. Stephens is a lobbyist representing NetChoice, a prime advocate of the bill to remove the reporting requirement.
“Hiring attorneys to write privacy policies, coming up with terms of service – that will be a real burden for small businesses,” Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel at the tech trade group NetChoice, told The New York Times.
Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel with NetChoice, which is pushing the bill to repeal the reporting requirement, asked committee members whether the information to be gathered by the state “was worth the privacy costs.” The bill “creates a honeypot of privacy that could be left on a bus on a thumb-drive.”
Holbert and several others including Amy Stephens, the former Republican legislator who led opposition to the bill in 2010 — said the state should not be able to know if people are buying from sites that could raise eyebrows, such as gun-sales websites or sites for cross-dressers.
Stephens, who leads the Colorado government affairs practice at Dentons law firm, said she feared the law could have a “chilling effect on online shopping.”
Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel at the online business trade group NetChoice, testified at the House hearing that consumer privacy is already protected under laws such as Illinois’ 2008 Biometric Information Privacy Act and existing federal law requiring privacy policies.
“This is not a zero-sum game of privacy,” Szabo said.
Carl Szabo is with industry group NetChoice, whose members include Google and Facebook. He notes that backers of the legislation include lawyers who specialize in class action lawsuits over privacy violations.
“It doesn’t create a right to know, it creates a right to sue by plaintiffs attorneys pushing this bill,” Szabo says.