Tag Archives: digital

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?

UK gov now ‘prefers’ open-source development

The government of the United Kingdom has taken the first major step (among the main government superpowers of the world) in creating the prototype for an “open source” country. Okay – maybe that’s a little bit of an overstatement – but when Richard Stallman performed his free software song for the first time, I certainly don’t think he had anything this major in mind.

A little background first: for the past couple years, the UK government has been working hard to create guidelines for governmental software development  – The Digital by Default Service Standard . These guidelines were first developed basically to reduce the amount of cruddy software condoned by the UK government (i.e. software that isn’t easily adaptable or shareable). Another main reason that the UK was seeking to create this resource for governmental software developers was to reduce – if not eliminate – the chance of becoming locked in “to some mad oligopoly outsource” – Liam Maxwell, CTO.

This article caught my attention because I was readying about Richard Stallman at the time and it instantly made me think of the 4 principles of free software.  However – this is the first time an entire country is going to change their mode of operation from commercial to open-source software. While I’d like to say that this is the perfect plan and that everyone should follow suit, a feeling in my gut says that the government’s restriction to use only open-source software might undermine the integrity and flexibility that we all associate with the term ‘open-source’. Maybe commercial software is needed to keep a professional standard to code by while open-source software fills the in-between needs of the people.  Either way – this is going to be a great experiment..  What do you guys think?