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LETTERS

Pair data-protection laws with universal opt-out mechanism

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We agree with author Jeff Kosseff that data protection laws are needed (“Shouldn’t we all just use our real names online?,” Ideas, April 24). Our discussions with legislators leave us similarly skeptical that a national privacy law, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, will happen in the United States.

The proposed Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, named after Judge Esther Salas’s son, would protect federal judges. Daniel was slain by a litigant who found the judge’s personal information online. It is hard to imagine anyone voting against it, but why would Congress protect only a small proportion of citizens? What about victims of domestic violence, teachers, health care workers, our children, ourselves?

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We have hope in laws being passed at the state level. Kosseff expresses concern that these laws put a “significant burden” on citizens to stop unlawful data usage. On that front, California’s and Colorado’s privacy laws include a universal opt-out right. What is needed next in the rule-making process is a mechanism to implement that opt-out, such as a do-not-share ledger along the lines of a do-not-call list. That would be a major step toward protecting people from the 4,000 data brokers worldwide. No new laws in Colorado or California would need to be passed to do this, and it would offer a model for universal opt-out at the federal level.

Tom Daly

CEO and founder

Dr. Mary Daly

Chief medical officer

mePrism

Carlsbad, Calif.

mePrism is a startup focused on helping consumers secure, learn about, and profit from their data.