California privacy bill disputed

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Web giants Facebook, Google, Twitter and Skype have banded together to oppose an online social networking privacy bill in California that would require users’ permission to display personal information such as home addresses and phone numbers.

The bill, introduced last February by state Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro), started out as legislation aimed at minors to create stronger privacy safeguards for their personal information.

Corbett said in an interview that Facebook and other companies argued that the focus on youth would encourage lying about age. She said the Silicon Valley networking giant protested that youth wanted to better control their information.

“But I felt strongly that certain personally identifying information shouldn’t be available too easily. I wasn’t saying that it couldn’t be provided but that address and financial information should be only given with permission,” Corbett said in a telephone interview. “So we amended the bill to focus on all users.”

That has the titans of Silicon Valley’s Web industry up in arms. In a letter to Corbett earlier this week, Facebook and other popular sites protested the proposed legislation.

Full story: Web giants fight California privacy bill