The messy progress on data privacy

Behind the mud, however, it is emerging agreement on many essential elements of a federal privacy law. Even the biggest sticking points – whether federal law should prevail over stricter state laws and whether individuals can sue for privacy violations – now seem to have viable middle ground. One possibility is that federal law overrides any future state laws but not existing ones. And people could be granted the right to sue for privacy violations in limited circumstanceseven for repeated violations.

Laws are no cure-all for our digital privacy mess. Smart public policies also produce unwanted trade-offs, and sometimes poorly designed or inadequately enforced laws make matters worse. Sometimes the new laws can seem pointless.

Most people’s experience with Europe broad 2018 digital privacy regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, are annoying pop-up warnings about data tracking cookies. The first of two of California Digital Privacy Policy in theory it gives people control over how their data is used, but in practice it often implies filling in costly forms. And recent data privacy laws in Virginia and Utah mostly it gave the industry groups what they wanted.

Is there any of these advances in protecting our data? Like, yeah!

Some privacy advocates may disagree with this, but imperfect laws and a shifting mindset among the public and policymakers are also profound changes. They show that the defaults of the American data collection system are unraveling and more responsibility is shifting to data collection companies, not individuals, to preserve our rights.

“Progress seems like laws that are not quite perfect; there is no such thing. It seems to start off in hiccups, ”Gennie Gebhart, the director of activism for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group, told me.

I don’t know if there will ever be a federal privacy law. Grid rules, and such regulation is complicated. But behind the lobbies and the decision, the terms of the data privacy debate have changed.