Mom, so far as I am aware, this EU legislation is the first to seriously attempt to codify any right of privacy with regard to the Internet, or to put any sort of legal framework around it. By comparison, telephones very early defined the idea of “wiretapping” even when there were still necessarily “party lines.” (Today, though, there is the assertion that “it’s not wiretapping if the telephone switch, itself is doing voice-analysis on the conversations that are passing through it” – of course, without the knowledge or the consent of those who are speaking and of course without a court order. Seriously. Or in the case of VOIP, which is very widely used today even when the parties don’t know it.) If there is any legal hole or technical method that would allow more personal data to be collected, bought and sold, then somebody out there is intent on driving a truck through it, just to see if they can.
And it’s not that people ever gave consent for it. It’s because (right now ...) they do not have a clue. But “Hell hath no fury ...”
This is truly an international issue, but perhaps the appearance of laws such as this might be the first bellwether that we realize that a problem exists that is worth making laws about. (But why did it take twenty years?) I am not wearing a tin-foil hat when I say that the present status quo scares the sh*t out of me because I see how many people are simply using this technology, unaware, and because I know how awful human nature can be. I don’t want to pick up the paper and read that headline.
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