Privacy, Cybersecurity, IP Bills Elusive, Despite White House Assurances

Andrew McLaughlin, Non-Residential Fellow with the Center for Internet and Society, is mentioned by Bryce Baschuk of the Washington Internet Daily in this article on his concern about Congress' effort to "legislate changes to the architecture of the Internet itself."

White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Daniel Weitzner said 2011 was a "huge year" for the online privacy discussion, at an event hosted late Tuesday by Politico. There were "two landmark FTC privacy settlements," with Google and Facebook, that show the government "takes seriously consumer rights," Weitzner said. Meanwhile the administration's highly-anticipated privacy recommendations are still pending.

Last month Facebook settled with the FTC on allegations that it made deceptive claims about user privacy when it made changes to the framework of its social network in December 2009 (WID Nov 30 p1). And in October the FTC unanimously approved a consent agreement with Google concerning the company's 2010 Buzz social network launch (WID Oct 25 p5). Both companies will now have to implement comprehensive privacy programs, submit to third-party privacy audits for the next 20 years, and pay $16,000 in civil fines for any violations of the agreement.


Former Deputy Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin said he was concerned about Congress' effort to "legislate changes to the architecture of the Internet itself." McLaughlin, a former Google policy executive who recently took a job as vice president at Tumblr, said he was particularly concerned that the House SOPA bill and the Senate PROTECT IP bill would use the DNS as a tool to block websites. "The bill would inflict collateral damages on the Internetand be counterproductive to the IP owners they are trying to protect," McLaughlin said. "My fear is that we are going to push very significant numbers of users in the broad category of teens and 20-somethings to download [encryption] plug-ins," which could become a huge problem for law enforcement, he said.