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Legislative Memo: Internet Harvesting

NYCLU Supports Bill Protecting Individual Privacy on the World Wide Web

The New York Civil Liberties Union supports legislative efforts to restrict the widespread practice of Internet “harvesting” for commercial purposes. As a result of the rapid growth of the Internet and the diffusion of information technology, there are currently no laws regulating this practice in New York.

The tracking and recording of consumers Worldwide Web browsing activities for commercial purposes represents a serious intrusion into the private affairs of citizens; the sale, lease or exchange of information gathered in such a manner compounds this intrusion and may bring distress to those who act under the assumption that their activities on the Web are free from any form of surveillance. The legislation currently before the Assembly and Senate would deliver adequate protection to the privacy of Internet users by prohibiting the sale of personal data without the consent of the individual.

The technologies of the Information Age can deliver unprecedented capabilities for freedom of expression and the unrestricted exchange of information. At the same time, these technologies may, if abused by unscrupulous parties in search of profit, promote grave breaches of the privacy cherished by all citizens and protected by the Constitution. The NYCLU strongly supports A7044 and S5090.

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