You will need to do an in-depth literary search on the topic in order to create a fully-developed response. You will need to include in-text citations and a references list for external references used in supporting your points for this question. You should have no fewer than 7 references for your response to this particular question, 4 of which must be from peer-reviewed sources. Use APA formatting where appropriate.7 Pages (2100 -2450 words)
If you own a Facebook account and receive personalized adverts based on your browsing history then you should be worried about your privacy. The most recent scandal in the digital world has drawn two of the world’s largest technology companies into a pool of controversy. It is alleged, and to a larger degree proved, that Cambridge Analytica and Facebook aided and abetted the Trump campaign through the phishing and use of browsing data from about fifty million Facebook users. These findings sparked uproar in the social media community with many users opting out of Facebook. Furthermore, the age- long debate concerning the security of personal data received a new stream of life. On one hand, critics are pushing for a complete federal sanction of online data collection and management. However, this may render the online business futile. Social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat rely on personalized advertisement to support their business models. However, in light of the recent saga pitting Facebook and Google Analytica, More stringent restrictions must be imposed on the expanse of collection and management of user data. Such restrictions must be incorporated in the relevant legislation. There are some differences and similarities between the current legislation and the Consumer’s Privacy Bill of Rights Act. These discrepancies will make it difficult to implement the bill in today’s society.
In the year 2015 the Obama administration drafted the Consumer Bill of Rights Act. The bill was aimed at preserving consumer privacy in the light of an exponential online market. The bill’s intentions were plausible although the entirety of it exhibited flaws. Primarily, it advocated for the just information practice values. There are a number of tenets that are significant in explaining the outlook of this bill. The first concerns the lucidity of collected data. In this regard, the bill demands that all social media platforms be open about the nature, extent, and use of the information they collect. Secondly, the bill posited that all affected organization must guard all sensitive information. However, a tussle ensued on the definition of sensitive information. Finally, it was agreed that the term “sensitive” refers to information that may cause any emotional, physical, and psychological trauma to the affected person. At this point, it is important to note that part of the psychological effect is regarded as the influence on a user’s decisions. Regardless, there is a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the bill. Despite the clearly laid out statutes, there is a myriad of loopholes that remain unsealed. For example, personal data is not sanctioned. This includes details including user name, age, location and occupation.
Moreover, it was established that the restrictions concerning the acquisition and management of personal data be extended to both profit and non- profit organizations. This ensures that all areas of consumer subscription are covered. Furthermore, the most important aspect of this bill is the fact that it bears a wide definition of personal identifiable information than the existing legislation. This is important as it is critical in determining the significance of the bill in current times. It is also notable that previous research has proved that consumers are apprehensive about the collection of personal information such as the identification codes for their devices and related cookies that render them liable to exploitation. In response to this, the bill proposes that an opt- in and opt- out option be provided for consumers where the collection or future collection of highly sensitive data is involved. In this regard, a consumer has the option of subscribing to such a service at their discretion.
Comparison and Contrast between the Bill and Existing Legislation
While the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights can be lauded for its attempt to galvanize the security of consumers in the online world, there are several tenets that diverged from the existing law. These tenets can be understood under the following lenses.
Privacy Risk vs Rights Based Approach
Current legislation is founded on a Rights Based approach to the divulgence of information. This means that the consumer reserves the right to withhold or divulge personal information, and the right can be transferred to a company with their consent. However, the Bill proposed that a privacy risk approach s adopted (Lynskey, 2015). This means that the decision of withholding or divulging sensitive consumer information is entirely based on the risk that such information poses on his/ her privacy. In other words, whether or not a consumer agreed to the collection and use of such information, the company in question must still adhere to the set rules of safeguarding the consumer’s privacy.
For- Profit and Non- profit organization
While the Federal Trade Commission only has jurisdiction to sanction for- profit organization, this bill proposes that the jurisdiction be extended to non- profit entities too. In this regard, the information given by a consumer for the purposes of charity cannot be used beyond the scope of charity. In retrospect, there have been numerous cases of non- profit organization colluding with data middlemen to unlawfully sell consumer personal data (Shark, 2015).
Under the current legislation, companies are prohibited from amending the terms of agreement after it has been entered by a consumer. However, the bill proposes that the company is allowed to amend the terms of agreement even if a previous contract with the consumer exists. The logic behind this proposal is centered on the fact that amending the agreement after it has been entered exposes the consumer to the risk of losing their privacy over the data that was collected before the agreement was amended. Furthermore, it has been established that shrewd businessmen may exploit this loophole at the expense of the consumer (McKinsey et al., 2014).
These differences notwithstanding, there are many similarities between the bill and current legislation.
Fair Information Practice
The backbone of the bill is the blatant focus on the seven tenets of fair information practice. First, the bill advocates for transparency. This means that there should be no fineprint when it comes to the collection, storage, and use of consumer data. All companies are required to notify the consumer of how their sensitive data will be stored and used. Secondly, the bill advocates for individual control of the data collected. This means that the consumer must be allowed to have full control of the information they choose to divulge or withhold as well as the ability to withdraw any information that they have posted before. Thirdly, the bill reiterates the importance of respect for context. This means that a company can only use consumer data within the context for which it is specified (Rotenberg et al., 2015). For example, if a consumer provides their private information during registration, such information cannot be used for any other purpose that is beyond that. Fourth, there is adherence to the policy of focused data collection and use. This is helpful in ensuring that only relevant data is obtained and that it is also used in the stipulated way. Other tenets include the security and control, free access to the information by the consumer, and finally accountability.
Although there are several ways in which the bill differs from the existing Federal law, most of its tenets are in sync with the law. For example, both are consistent when it comes to the prosecution and punishment of offenders. Besides, both concur that the governing law is United States constitution (Giovanella, 2017). This makes it easier to adopt it and enforce it without having to perform an overhaul of the entire system.
Validity of Implementation in Today’s Society
Having understood the intricacies of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and the existing law, it is easier to contextualize the issues that consumers are facing today. For example, the uproar against Facebook is a clear indication of how gullible the consumer is in an ever- expanding online world. The partnership between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica in violating the privacy of more than fifty million Americans is a classic example of how companies misuse the consumer’s data. It is alleged that Facebook allowed Cambridge to obtain information regarding one’s email address, phone number and length of calls, and circle of friends (Harris, 2018). If the bill was in place, this could have been regarded as a breach of the consumer protection laws. For example the Facebook users were not contacted before the use of their information. This constitutes a violation of the consumer rights. Furthermore, the bill required that the information collected be used solely for the purpose for which it was intended. In this regard, the move by Cambridge to use such sensitive data in order to manipulate voting patterns would attract hefty fines that may include the revocation of licenses.
It is important to note that such a scandal could have been avoided if the law adopted the “privacy risk” approach to handling personal information. Although the information shared had no personal impact on the consumers, it poses a threat to the security of their information. Likewise, many users have opted out of Facebook and deleted their accounts.
There is a more pressing issue to consider going forward. The breach of contract by Facebook opens a leeway for other social networks to follow suit (Harris, 2018). Therefore, it is important that the government imposes penalties that will deter such crimes from repeated in the future. While it is important that the handling of such sensitive data is sanctioned, the financial implication on these sites must be considered. Without the personalization of advertisements, it would be impossible to sustain the social networks. Likewise, personalization requires that such companies monitor and record consumer behavior while online. It would be impractical to fully sanction the manipulation of consumer data for their gain (Singer, 2018). In this regard, the implementation of such a bill in present times may require a revision of several tenets. Otherwise, it may be prudent to introduce tax waivers in order to meet these companies halfway.
From a political perspective, the implementation of the bill as it is near impossible. The Trump administration is popular for repealing most legislation passed in the Obama administration. Likewise, the politics of succession is bound to take the center stage in this issue. Furthermore, the current regime has often favored the economy over social emotions. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the choice on whether or not to implement the bill will be dictated by the economic gains or losses in question.
In conclusion, the Consumer’s Privacy Bill of Rights Act was a futuristic endeavor by the Obama administration. This is in light of current social issues and conduct of giant communication companies. Primarily, the Act differs from the existing law in several ways. First, it proposes a Privacy Risk as opposed to a Rights Based approach in handling sensitive information. Secondly, the Act ropes in the non- profit organizations which are unaffected in the current law. Third, the Act proposes that companies be allowed the freedom to amend contracts provided that they inform the clients beforehand. However, some similarities also exist. The first one regards the Fair Information Practice where the consumer must be adequately informed on the collection, storage and use of their information. Furthermore, the Act coincides with the current law on how to prosecute and convict offenders. In this light, implementing the Act in the present day may face several challenges. Some of these challenges include the politics of the day, the economic plausibility of the online world as well as the lack of personalization of advertisements.
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