Tag Archives: Act

Consumer Protection is hot in Cali

California – already known for their progress in pushing issues surrounding privacy advocacy and consumer protection – are again trying to shift the norm by requiring companies to (upon request by the consumer) to disclose all data they’ve collected on you as part of any producer/consumer transaction. Whether it be a good or service – online or offline – the “Right to Know Act of 2013” would require businesses to keep accurate and detailed records of any customer data that they’re received from you. Particularly important in this proposal was the stipulation that would also require businesses to keep track of who else gets access to your consumer data.
            This may not seem like a huge deal, because at the moment, current Californian law states that customers have the right to request accounting of disclosures of direct marketing purposes (for example, you call and find out your local telephone company has been doing small-time selling of your home phone number to advertising agencies). However, the new proposal sheds light on what is otherwise a very non-descriptive and loose boundary setting law that protects consumers right now. It provides consumers with additional tools and resources too truly see where their data is going – including access to their own information sold to online advertisers, data brokers and third-party apps.
            Although this is doesn’t seem like an enormous move in terms of protecting consumers, California has had a knack for testing good consumer-protection legislation only to be later similarly adopted in other states. It’s important that we as consumers continue to keep up with the ideas that we as consumers are worth more than individual buyers – our power comes from the fact that we are the sum of many parts. How important do you think it is that consumers push to strengthen and further define our rights as capitalism in America becomes more and more digitized?

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 2008 . . .2012 . . .2017

By a vote of 73 to 23, the US Senate, on December 29, 2012, voted to extend the FISA Amendments Act for five years a.k.a. until December 31, 2017.

(some history real quick)

In 2008, congress passed The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (abbreviated FISA) Amendments Act.  This act by congress was basically seen by the public as yet another link in a long chain-of-reactions aimed at the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001. At its core, the main function of this amendment was to extend the – similar but not quite carbon copy – provisions encompassed by the Protect America Act of 2007. Similar to how certain components of the Patriot Act – particularly ones condemned by the public – have survived thru bill-rehashing and manipulation; it seems that the Protect America Act of 2007 is also becoming an undead bill.

No matter how we argue or protest, the original intent and purpose of this act have survived by taking on the mask of FISA, FISA amendments and now the FISA amendments extension.  And I’m not saying that the entire act is bad or that every provision is controversial, I just want to point out that our words are not being heard and change is not coming anytime soon.

In its most recent context – a 5-4 vote nation’s highest court that definitively ended the case of a group of individuals who said “said their communications were likely being scooped up by the government’s expanded spying powers in violation of their constitutional rights”.  The court ruled – based on the recent extension of the FISA Amendments – that these groups don’t have the right to sue at all, because they can’t prove they were being spied on.

This is a silent problem that affects few United States citizens – but that’s how every landslide starts. I firmly believe that if we don’t stick up for the little guys, we’ll soon all be in their shoes – cursing our ignorance. What do you guys think? Can you think of any other laws or other political agendas that have been similarly manipulated  by The Man?