ANALYSIS: Happy Data Privacy Day, Punk!

Kurt Mackie | | January 27, 2012

Data Privacy Day starts on January 28, but the parties behind it might not be its best advocates, nor even take the concept seriously.

The January 28 date was officially designated Data Privacy Day via resolutions passed by Congress, which hasn't been particularly scrupulous about privacy issues in recent years. Congress has repeatedly extended the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, a post-911 catastrophe law that further opened up domestic electronic communications for surveillance...

While the U.S. government has shown little regard for the privacy rights of its citizens, its lawmakers do listen to the concerns of business interests. Companies like Microsoft that need to set public policies according to their financial interests could sway lawmakers toward greater online privacy protections, just to appease the EU and its markets. Money is on the line. The rationale for such change won't be principled -- it'll be about ensuring the profits of Microsoft and other providers of services over the Internet -- but it might actually achieve greater data privacy for people than now exists in the United States.