Silicon Valley Launches Campaign To Quash State Privacy Laws

The Silicon Valley trade organization Internet Association this week launched a campaign advocating for a federal privacy law that would override state laws.

The campaign is now running on radio and Twitter, and is expected to soon roll out on Facebook and YouTube. The initiative is mainly targeted to people in the D.C. area and California, where a sweeping new privacy law is slated to take effect next year.

The Internet Association, which represents Google, Facebook, Amazon and other tech companies, first called for a national privacy law last year. A website for the new campaign includes animated ideas touting the arguments the organization advanced last year.

“Americans deserve a unified, federal privacy law, not a patchwork of state laws, because your privacy expectations shouldn't change from one state to another,” a voiceover states in one of the videos, while a map of the United States transforms from solid purple into a quilted pattern. “So if you're video-chatting with your grandmother in Utah while you're in New York, you both should benefit from the same privacy protections.”

The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation has criticized the effort, calling it “a disingenuous ploy to undermine real progress on privacy being made around the country at the state level.”

The watchdog adds that members of the Internet Association are hoping to override “stronger state laws,” enabling them to “continue business as usual.”

California's new law, considered the toughest in the country, gives consumers the right to learn what information has been collected about them by companies, have that information deleted, and prevent the sale of that data. That measure will go into effect next year.

A new law in Maine, also slated to take effect next year, will require broadband providers to obtain consumers' opt-in consent before using information about their web browsing for ad targeting.

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