The lack of control over what personal information gets shared and to whom, has people questioning whether or not the Government will act. In the past, the United States has stuck to the belief that companies should regulate the way they handle privacy on their own, only when they fail does the Federal Trade Commission step in. The FTC has the ability to step in to prevent unfair and deceptive practices and many are wondering if Google’s new privacy will draw the FTC’s attention. As noted in The Economist, January 28, 2012, the global economy complicates the matter. Intercontinental commerce and the increasing amount of it on the Internet requires governments to have systems that can work with each other—despite vastly different approaches. The European Union, for example, is much more interventionist than the US. While neither India nor China have passed formal national legislation—even though each country has more Internet users than the U.S. has people–they are both considering it. The overall aim of this privacy regulation is to build a “digital single market” that will change the patchwork of rules that has been changing since 1995.
How to use this Information
Developments in privacy framework and regulation will impact the rules and expectations for businesses on the Internet. The new EU regulations are not set to take hold until 2016 and the U.S. is not likely to pass any privacy regulations in an election year, but the debate will continue and businesses must take steps to represent their own interests. Among those must be to freely conduct business on the Internet without compromising its information security and intellectual property.