Senator McCain and Senator Kerry are teaming up to introduce the "Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011," which, a press release from Senator McCain explains, would empower "State Attorneys General and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce the bill's provisions." As if the state attorneys general and the FTC didn't already have enough pretexts on which to hassle businesses.
The text of the bill identifies such items as "date of birth" and "the religious affiliation of an individual" as "personally identifiable information" and "sensitive personally identifiable information," meaning that such useful Web sites as Wikipedia and whorunsgov.com might be ensnared, violating the First Amendment, which Senator McCain has never had much deference for anyway.
The law provides a penalty of $16,500 per individual per day a violation exists, or $3 million total, adjusted annually for inflation.
The Wall Street Journal news department, naturally, is cheering the law on. It reports:
The move comes amid widening scrutiny of the commercial data-gathering industry, which has been chronicled in The Wall Street Journal's "What They Know" series. In his comments, Sen. McCain, an Arizona Republican, read an excerpt from the Journal series revealing that 56 popular cellphone applications transmitted information about users to outsiders without users' awareness or consent.
What a useful reminder this bill is of why both Senator Kerry and Senator McCain deserved to lose their respective presidential campaigns. Neither the Democrat or the Republican has much of a concept of limited government or of the Constitution or of the regulatory burdens faced by businesses in the private sector.