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Friday, September 7, 2012

Republicans Called for Better Data Protection

Republicans forwarded their new party platform that supports online freedom and information protection, as well as protections from unwarranted governmental intrusion via the use of aerial surveillance.

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In addition, the Republican Party also criticized the strict international regulations of the web, along with the idea of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rule. They believe that the agency was just trying to micromanage the Internet as if it were a railroad network.

Finally, the Party called for offensive capabilities related to online security, perhaps reminding of such cases as Stuxnet and a number of malware “incidents” which presumably originated from the secret US programs. They also call for Internet gambling to be entirely forbidden, and “vigorous enforcement” of any kind of porno and obscenity.

The Party’s platform for 2008 didn’t even mention data, but did mention the Internet when asking for more web transparency from the government’s side. Now the Party asked for prohibiting “online access taxes” as well as a halt to “all new cell phone taxes”.

At the moment, under “Protecting Online Freedom” the Party sees the web as a place which unleashed innovation. In addition, the platform called for more privacy. In the meantime, the Electronic Privacy Information Center was also involved in the issue and called for protection of personal information, which is actually available under the 1986’s Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Nevertheless, the outfit, as well as other copyright groups, believes that this act needs to be reformed.

In response, the President of tech policy group TechFreedom claimed that the platform in question isn’t well thought because it lacked the appropriate language. He pointed out that it was pretty clear the “right of control” the Party was talking about was actually a right against government access.

Nevertheless, it would be misinterpreted by privacy regulatory advocates as a general right to control data held by 3rd parties, which is actually the approach of groups like Electronic Privacy Information Center. Still, it is unclear what exactly does the term “data” mean, because the authors probably meant information which users upload or create to services, like tweets or e-mails. However, it will likely be interpreted to mean much more than this.

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