It's been a fascinating discussion. I certainly think we always have to keep the potential in mind. Indeed, the democratic involvement of new media is very transformative.
My concern is about the issue of function creep, this notion we're hearing around the table that if you sign an agreement, you make your consent. But you consent for a specific piece of information that you share, and yet that information is then re-shared and re-shared into this vast data mine. This is a question of privacy rights that has to be clarified when we are signing onto something.
My daughter in grade 9 emailed me the other day and told me she wasn't allowed on her Gmail account unless she gave Google her cellphone number. I thought that was really odd. I phoned her and asked her what happened. She told me she couldn't get her Gmail unless she gave Google her cell number.
The next day my Gmail account came up, and it told me to put in my cellphone number, please, for greater security. I didn't want to give them my cellphone number. My grade 9 daughter is smarter than me, and she wasn't going to give hers. You had to look down at the bottom of the page for a very small thing that said “Click if you don't want to do this”.
When you look at it, they were asking my 14-year-old daughter to give them her cell number. Now, Google is a great corporate citizen, but she didn't sign on to Gmail to give them her cellphone information.
I guess in this question of function creep, I'm wondering what role we have in terms of saying, okay, wait a minute; that's beyond the pale. Are you going to use this cellphone number of a teenaged girl strictly for her personal security, or is this going to be added into the vast data mine that someone else is going to be able to access?
I think these are questions that we have an obligation to ask as legislators.