FC: Larry Ribstein suggests state privacy laws instead of federal ones

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sun Jul 01 2001 - 06:17:07 PDT

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    From: "Larry Ribstein" <lribsteiat_private>
    To: <declanat_private>
    Cc: <bkobayasat_private>
    Subject: The ACT poll and the state law issue
    Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 15:41:47 -0400
    Another poll on privacy.  What does it all mean and where is this going? By now
    we've heard a lot from all of the various privacy camps.  The privacy mavens
    would like to see strong federal laws mandating everything in the world.  The
    free market people would like to see no laws.  At least some of the companies
    would like to see a weak federal law that preempts all state laws.
    Do any of these camps really think they are going to get their wish lists, 
    the massive confusion in everything from policy to opinion polls?  More
    importantly, does anyone in any of these camps have a viable political 
    The only thing that everybody seems to agree on is that state laws on this 
    can't work. But while it is true that they won't work perfectly, and won't 
    all the problems right away, the   question is whether any of these other
    "plans" will work better.  No law?  Get real.  Limited federal law?  Does 
    believe that Congress will really knock out all state law, or come up with some
    simple global solution? Even if Congress were infinitely wise and perfectly
    motivated, the fact is that there is no such solution to all of the disparate
    privacy problems.  So what we'll end up with is 18 different federal laws,
    administered by 18 different federal agencies, each expanding its jurisdiction
    daily, PLUS 51 state laws, and infinity of foreign laws, and a lot of questions
    about how all this interacts. Sounds great if you're a lawyer.
    So why not look again at a state law solution with all this in mind?  We think
    that a system in which vendors designate the law and forum of a particular 
    is both enforceable and realistic.  See our article at
    http://www.federalismproject.org/conlaw/ecommerce/cookies.pdf.  We welcome
    Larry Ribstein and Bruce Kobayashi
    George Mason University Law School
    3401 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22201
    703 993-8041/fax 8202
    lribsteiat_private   www.ribstein.org
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