The need for a federal privacy law governing Facebook and other tech companies has felt like a necessity for a while now. However, Facebook isn’t about to let the government oversee it without heavily influencing the process; according to a report last weekend in The New York Times, major tech companies are lobbying to basically create their own regulations.
While it sounds like these companies are being helpful on paper, in reality they want to create a national framework that could supersede a strict California privacy law that passed earlier this summer. So their commitment to being a “constructive part of the process,” as tech lobbyist Dean Garfield said, is really just a way to protect themselves and neuter a law they don’t like at the same time. Facebook and its cohort don’t want stricter standards; they want to avoid them.
“The idea that the companies that violated our privacy for more than a decade will suddenly have a self-regulatory blueprint is ridiculous,” Jim Steyer, president of privacy advocacy group Common Sense Media, told the Times.
Facebook almost certainly requires government regulation at this point in its history; it’s simply too big. However, if the catch is Facebook will help create the regulations itself, then maybe that isn’t worth it after all.