While it’s clear that using personal information without a user’s authorization is not likely to be permitted, there is a great deal to discuss on this topic. Since is just the first post on this, I’ll limit it to the following two overarching issues.
First, there is a dangerous precedent here. If a state government were to pass a piece of legislation like this, it would become a de facto Federal law because there is currently no way to govern how the Internet is consumed by an individual user at the state level. That idea has several obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is that the Federal government generally doesn’t take too kindly to state governments superseding their purview. However, the debate likely will not end there; any road blocks from the state level will likely inspire greater levels of legislative creativity.
The other issue is this: When does governance verge on greed? The idea that a violation, of what promises to be a very convoluted law, would trigger a fine creates some issues about the law’s efficacy. Is this is a law that’s universally good and enforceable, or is it a government cash cow under the guise of protecting the public interest?
These two broad issues must be addressed. Ad targeting and consumer relevance are vitally important aspects of retail commerce on the Internet. If legislation is passed at the Federal level, then does the government have to fight the perception battle? Perhaps they don’t have to, but should they?