Newtown News of Interest
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April 26, 2018 9:35 AM!

The New Lower Makefield Board of Supervisors to Consider a Revised, Stricter Online Privacy Ordinance

The New Lower Makefield Board of Supervisors to Consider a Revised, Stricter Online Privacy Ordinance | Newtown News of Interest |

Lower Makefield is taking another crack at giving residents a choice in how they share their “personally identifiable information” with internet service providers.


An ordinance supervisors recently advertised would block Comcast and Verizon from providing advertisers data from customers — including their web searches, medical or financial information and video viewing habits — unless the customers opt in to information sharing.


The township’s newly-advertised ordinance could be considered a stricter online privacy protection compared to a previous version supervisors advertised in September but never approved. That earlier ordinance would have allowed Comcast and Verizon to collect and pass along the personal information by default but required the companies to mail customers annual notices that they could opt out.


Lower Makefield’s new ordinance also now mirrors a counterpart Falls supervisors approved in October, in that, if the board votes “yes,” Comcast and Verizon would not be subject to any immediate new requirements. Instead, the “opt in” provision would be mandatory for future franchise agreements between the township and companies.


Supervisors said an online privacy ordinance passed last year in Seattle had not been challenged and Falls’ ordinance was challenged only on procedural grounds.


Verizon Pennsylvania argued in a November county court lawsuit that Falls supervisors unlawfully made a “substantial amendment” to their ordinance — so it would go into effect with future franchise agreements rather than immediately — minutes before they approved it (read “Verizon's All Out Legal Battle Against Falls Attemp to Protect the Online Privacy of Its Residents”)


“Clearly it’s not going to happen at the federal level with the people who are in charge,” said resident Sally Farneth at the meeting. “Anything we can do to move this sort of thing forward and get other communities nearby to join us, I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

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Newtown News of Interest
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