Privacy is an extremely delicate subject in a world that is every day more connected and the lawmakers in Washington DC are facing hard times having to deal with help from external sources. As seen almost every time there are big economic interests involved, collusion is a bit of an issue when it comes to these ‘external sources’.
Take for example the well-respected Center for Democracy and Technology, an important privacy-centered think tank that regularly testifies in front of committees on privacy legislation. They are receiving big dollars from the tech sector with donors that go by the name of Amazon, Google, Uber, and Twitter.
The group has recently hosted its ‘Tech Prom’, bringing together lobbyists and government affair officials. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft had purchased a table in exchange for a $35000 donation.
The clear intention of these corporate-funded organizations is to weaken the enforcement mechanism of privacy protection laws and to limit the consumer’s resources for recourse. Most important of all, watered down state-level privacy legislation.
Jeff Chester is president of the Center for Digital Democracy, a think tank that opposes the overturning of the state-level legislature. From The Intercept: “The stakes of the online privacy fight could have ramifications the world over. American standards on data collection could shape political and business decisions across the world” he goes on saying “This is much bigger than Cambridge Analytica”. And that was a hell of a scandal.
Things started to heat up between rivaling views and escalated rapidly ever since the Californian state-level privacy law passed in June 2018: the California Consumer Privacy Act. The law is designated to give residents the ability to check what data was being collected from them, delete unwanted uploads and decide if this data should be submitted to third parties. Predictably, this triggered the fury of the corporate-fuelled think tanks that are, ever since then, trying everything possible to contrast ‘Californian style’ legislation.
In a world where tech giants are racing towards artificial intelligence, data collection has become primordial and we can be pretty sure Big Tech won’t give up because data is, after all, profit.