Senator Al Franken in his recent letter to Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) argument the fact that the 4th Amendment does not apply to corporations, but only to State and Federal government. In the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to privacy is commonly, if not completely, derived.
However, as Franken notes in his letter:
Outside of certain industries and market sectors, our privacy rights with respect to the private companies we interact with every day online are limited, if not entirely absent. Indeed, as I discuss further below, federal law allows your wireless company or smartphone company to disclose to non-governmental third parties a detailed record of everywhere you’ve been in the past month or year using geolocation data. […] I think that most Americans would be very surprised by this.
Franken outlines a number of fundamental rights, in his view, that pertain to privacy, which should be taken up by the NTIA in its regulatory work. His core point is that “Privacy is a fundamental right.” From that he states the following:
First, I believe that all Americans have a fundamental right to know who has their personal information and how it is being used.
Second, I believe that all Americans have a fundamental right to control who gets their personal information and who it is shared with.
Third, I believe that our fundamental right to privacy includes the right to know that our sensitive information-wherever it is-is safe and secure.
Fourth, I believe that concentration in the telecommunications and technology sectors has reduced the incentives for many companies to protect consumers’ privacy.
Finally, I believe that federal and state authorities should rigorously enforce privacy laws – and that whenever possible, private citizens should have the right to personally enforce their right to privacy.