De Anza opinions on Internet privacy bill2 min read

Genie Lu, Staff Writer

Few students and faculty at De Anza College have heard about  an Internet privacy bill. Those told of the bill’s purpose reacted positively.

Since its introduction Feb. 22, the bill is already opposed by fifteen companies and trade groups including Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

The bill, officially known as Assembly Bill 1291 or the Right to Know Act of 2013 and sponsored by Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, would force companies to hand over all personal data on a consumer within thirty days of the consumer’s request and the contact information of third parties that received the data.

The bill’s purpose is to redefine provisions of existing laws which already require businesses to disclose details on personal information sent to other sources, according to legislative analysis.

These changes include complying with the request free-of-charge regardless of a business relationship with consumer, as well as providing a copy of the information instead of specific details.

“I want to know what they (the companies) know about me” and how they use that information, said Michelle Diaz, a 23-year-old criminal justice major.

“I buy something on one website, then I have a whole bunch of other websites try to sell me something. It’s just like, ‘How’d you know?’”

Martina Ebesugawa, associated with the child development department, said she also supported the bill’s intent.

She said she thought the bill gives consumers the honesty they need to feel more comfortable while dealing with companies.

“I think it’s important to be open, to have it all in the light,” she said.

Opponents of the bill called it “unworkable” because of the way information is retrieved, sometimes from an IP address instead of a specific user, according to the Independent Voter Network.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that others are concerned the bill would “open up businesses to an avalanche of requests from individuals as well as costly lawsuits.” No estimate was given for these costs.

Thanh Vo, 24, computer science major, said privacy laws should go further because personal information should not go to third parties.

“Privacy should be respected. Whatever company we’re dealing (with), it’s just us and that company alone,” he said.

The Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary will discuss the bill in a hearing May 7, according to the committee’s schedule.

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