back to article What do the US midterm election results mean for a federal privacy law?

America's midterm elections didn't result in the widely predicted Republican red wave, but the results show there will be interesting times ahead for American privacy. After an arduous week of vote counting, Democrats narrowly won control of the Senate, although depending on the outcome of the Georgia runoff in December they …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Go

    We can likely expect gridlock for the next two years

    YES! This is what I want. Government is best when it's busy fighting itself, without time to meddle in other stuff.

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Government is best when it’s busy fighting itself, without time to meddle in other stuff.

      If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.

      We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.

      Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.

      In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached and passed.

      “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

      I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

      I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

      It will become all one thing, or all the other.

      Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

      Abraham Lincoln, 1858-06-16

      If there’s anything that history shows, it’s that government always has time to meddle in other stuff, even when it’s busy fighting itself.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: We can likely expect gridlock for the next two years

      I always find it...amusing...when anti-government believers discuss nullifying government operations...while directly benefiting from the constant operation of said government.

      You expect police protections? Maintained roads and transportation infrastructure? Running, safe water? Properly disposed-of sewage? FOOD??

      All this is created by, or assisted by, the government. Remember that the U.S. Government gives billions of dollars in aid every year to farmers. Yes, to Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Agri and other industries that our very daily, modern existence depends upon. Border inspections, shipment handling and import safety. Food and safety inspections.

      Hundreds of other 'small' things that you depend upon, every single day. You've just learned to take them for granted because they seem to occur "automatically" by your inability to notice their daily activities.

      1. Dimmer

        Re: We can likely expect gridlock for the next two years

        "You expect police protections? Maintained roads and transportation infrastructure? Running, safe water? "

        Yes we do.... and we are told over and over that what the next new tax will be going for. In our state, "just pass the lottery - all the proceeds will be going to the schools." B.S. The schools have yet to see the money.

        I am for government. I don't want or have an interest being in charge of making sure those things are working. What I am not for is the bureaucracy we have.

        In the states, we have the right to do anything we want - except when there is a law against it. So, they have made to their mission to make sure there is one for everything they can think of and if they missed one, they will get to it ASAP.

        I am for gridlock so we can have a breather for a couple of years.

        If not, here is one for you:

        If a law or regulation is passed, there is to be no exceptions, NONE. You can't bribe (get a permit) the bureaucracy into allowing you to do it.

        If the law is needed, it needs to be for EVERYONE.

        Example: If you are on our states toll roads, you can go 85mph. If you are on our interstates, 65 to 75 mph. Only difference. YOU PAY to be allowed to get where you are going faster. (oh, by the way, we already paid for the toll road with taxes)

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Re: We can likely expect gridlock for the next two years

          In our state, “just pass the lottery - all the proceeds will be going to the schools.” B.S. The schools have yet to see the money.

          It’s not necessarily B.S. — for example, the lottery proceeds by themselves might be insufficient to fully fund the financial needs of your state’s schools. Or some portion of the state taxes that were previously allocated to your schools before the introduction of the lottery might have been reällocated to other insufficiently funded areas of state responsibility, because the lottery proceeds had been forecast to surpass the amount of the reällocation.

          I am for government. I don’t want or have an interest being in charge of making sure those things are working. What I am not for is the bureaucracy we have.

          Do you see the average voter in your state as having any responsibility for the bureaucracy that you have? Do you see perpetual gridlock as the only plausible response to the actions (or inactions) of your bureaucracy?

          I am for gridlock so we can have a breather for a couple of years.

          Gridlock won’t provide a breather; what it will provide is a couple of additional years for solutions to be avoided (“kicking the can down the road”) and existing political attitudes to ossify further (“if you’re not for us, you’re against us”).

          If a law or regulation is passed, there is to be no exceptions, NONE. You can’t bribe (get a permit) the bureaucracy into allowing you to do it.

          If the law is needed, it needs to be for EVERYONE.

          What if a proposed law or regulation wouldn’t directly affect everyone in your state? For example, suppose that marine biologists have documented a precipitous decline in commercial fish stocks in your state’s waters over the past 25 years, and recommended to your lawmakers that commercial fish catches be placed under a quota for some number of years to allow the fish populations to rebound, e.g. a total catch by all commercial fishermen of some number of tons of certain fish species per year. Should such a law or regulation not be passed because it would only directly affect commercial fishermen in your state’s waters, and wouldn’t directly affect everyone? If it should be passed, should permits to catch certain amounts of particular fish species per year not be sold to commercial fishermen as a means of allocating the quota, because sale of the permits would be bribes to the bureaucracy?

          1. Dimmer

            Re: We can likely expect gridlock for the next two years

            In our case, we were told the lottery proceeds would be in addition to the existing funding from the state and the school property taxes.

            Yes I see all the voters are responsible for the situation. It is up to each to make an informed decision and show others the facts to support those decisions.

            Good point on kicking the can. You have more faith that the next guys will do better for all than the last did for few.

            With the exception of quotas you mentioned,(excellent point) I think you helped make my point. There are laws and regs that should only be handled on a local level. The closer to the people, the more freedom we have due to greater control and oversight of our government. Without exceptions, that would force the laws or regs to be made at the appropriate level.

            On the quota point, we pay taxes for enforcement.

            I will give you an example of government profiteering. Stoplight cameras.

            One of our cities found they could make lots of money by decreasing the yellow light time and shorting the green light time, this also causes more accidents. They then found they could make even more money by lowering the lights to the minimum height so if you were behind a truck, you could not see the light till it was too late. After an even higher increase in accidents and deaths at a previously safe intersection, all were voted out of office and it was removed.

            Thanks for your response. This is what I like about the Reg comments. I like hearing others point of view as mine is not always correct.

            1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

              Re: We can likely expect gridlock for the next two years

              In our case, we were told the lottery proceeds would be in addition to the existing funding from the state and the school property taxes.

              Yes I see all the voters are responsible for the situation. It is up to each to make an informed decision and show others the facts to support those decisions.

              Then the proper response would be for the voters to boot the lottery tall tale tellers out of office, as happened in the city with the manipulators of traffic light durations.

              You have more faith that the next guys will do better for all than the last did for few.

              No, I have more faith that a compromise plan in which most people get a portion of what they want is typically better than a “my way or the highway” plan in which some people get everything that they want and a larger group of people get nothing of what they want. In my view, doing nothing through gridlock is an example of the latter.

              I think you helped make my point. There are laws and regs that should only be handled on a local level. The closer to the people, the more freedom we have due to greater control and oversight of our government. Without exceptions, that would force the laws or regs to be made at the appropriate level.

              I didn’t understand your point as being one of subsidiarity (that legislation should be undertaken as close to the affected people as feasibly possible) — I understood your point as being one of universality (that legislation should apply to everyone without exception), which is why I tried to think of a plausible example where universality would not have to be a defining feature. I agree with your view on subsidiarity.

              On the quota point, we pay taxes for enforcement.

              As any jurisdiction should for any law or regulation which is worth enforcing. Would you then say that selling permits for quota allocations would not be bribes to the bureaucracy? Or, if you still consider that to be a form of bribery, how would you design a more just system of quota allocation?

              I like hearing others point of view as mine is not always correct.

              Ditto. All of us benefit from reading each others’ points of view.

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Deja Vu yet again

    "In 1653, after learning that Parliament was attempting to stay in session despite an agreement to dissolve, and having failed to come up with a working constitution, Cromwell's patience ran out." 1

    His response:2 'You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!' has, it seems, potential for wide current application.

    1 rump parliament

    2 Cromwell's response

    1. Santa from Exeter

      Re: Deja Vu yet again

      Yup, Ole Warty Face didn't even like the Parliament that his bully boy Pride had given him.

      Typical Military Dictator.

  3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    US Republicans took the House, so the Democrats will not be able to run rampant thw next 2 years

    But, on the subject at hand, a data privacy law should cover the nation and not allow individual states to go beyond, the only exfeption being a company that only does business in said state. Allowing one state to set stronger laws means that state can effectively make the decision for all states as the businesses would have to...

    Why am I whinging about this? After a bit of thought while typing, as long as the federal law only allows states to have stronger privacy laws I'm all for it.

    1. I could be a dog really

      No, any federal law needs to be a baseline that forces al those states that haven't passed their own privacy laws to do something useful. The problem with the proposed law is that it is weak (i.e. it provides little protection), and it would explicitly cancel any state level laws - in effect, states like California would be going backwards ... a very long way.

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