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California Lawmakers Defeat Internet Privacy Bill

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(CBS)

(CBS)

SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — California lawmakers on Thursday rejected an Internet privacy bill for a second time after heavy lobbying from Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites that objected to more state regulation.

The state Senate rejected SB242, which fell two votes short of the majority needed. The bill, which would have required websites to automatically set personal information to private, also failed a week earlier.

Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, had pitched the bill as necessary protection against identity theft and to give parents better control over their children’s information online.

In presenting the bill, she said people often are unaware that personal information such as their home address and Social Security number can be available online for others to see.

“This is not any information, but information that is truly private and truly sensitive like your home address, your mother’s maiden name, your Social Security number, your bank accounts, those sorts of things — pieces of information that belong to you,” Corbett said.

Companies had argued that Corbett’s bill would have forced consumers to make blanket privacy decisions before they ever would have used a service. Most online sites now let users decide to reveal or conceal personal information about what they are doing at any particular time.

In addition to opposition from social networking sites, Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo and Skype have lobbied against the proposal. They said such regulation isn’t needed because companies already go to great lengths to protect individuals’ privacy.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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