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On the need for updated consumer privacy laws

"No overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information among private-sector companies," writes the US Government Accountability Office in a report titled Consumer Privacy Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace. 

Consumer privacy laws have not kept up with new technologies, like tracking online behavior and location surveillance through mobile devices. No federal law oversees third parties who may collect and sell this information, leaving consumers exposed regards to their online destinations, shopping habits and health interests. Consumers don't have the right to control the collection or sharing of personal information, even if it is sensitive. 

The exponential increase in mobile applications and social media -- along with the accompanied surge in sales of personal information -- has pushed consumer protection to the forefront. 

Thus, GAO Recommends: 

Congress should consider strengthening the consumer privacy framework to reflect the effects of changes in technology and the increased market for consumer information. Any changes should seek to provide consumers with appropriate privacy protections without unduly inhibiting commerce and innovation. The Department of Commerce agreed that strengthened privacy protections could better protect consumers and support innovation.

Here is a link to the study: Consumer Privacy Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace

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