House Panel Moves Closer to Privacy Bill



"While we have debated online privacy issues for the past decade, little attention has been paid to how businesses collect, use and disseminate consumers' information offline," said Chris Hoofnagle, director of the information privacy programs at the law school of the University of California, Berkeley.


Hoofnagle and Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, warned about the ways that data brokers can obtain consent from consumers to collect and share all manner of personal information that keep with the letter -- if not the spirit -- of existing laws. Those activities, which generally see consumers offering up information without fully understanding how it will be used, should shift the focus of the argument away from the binary opt-in vs. opt-out model that has characterized much of the discussion about online data collection.

"It is easy to trick people into opting in," Hoofnagle said.