Congressman Asks SOPA Opponents to Help Draft Mobile Privacy Law

Reddit, one of the main leaders in the anti-SOPA blackout, has become the go-to place for one lawmaker. Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia has turned to the Reddit community for input on how to create mobile privacy legislation. He announced his initiative on Reddit yesterday, saying, “It’s an open, bottom-up approach to drafting legislation that will protect the privacy of mobile device users.” Hoping to engage the technology community after the SOPA/PIPA debacle, Johnson is inviting netizens to share their thoughts on the AppRights website and through discussion on Reddit.

After several high-profile mobile privacy controversies, like the class action lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook, Apple and others, the percentage of apps that have a privacy policy has increased. According to a study released this week, the number of free apps with a privacy policy in the iOS App Store increased from 40 to 84 percent in the past year. The authors of the study acknowledged that while having a privacy policy is not a comprehensive solution to all mobile privacy issues, having one indicates that developers “have at least taken a minimum step to document their data use and have accepted legal responsibility for these commitments.”

Pressure from consumers and regulators alike is helping to emphasize the privacy issue, and Johnson’s efforts hope to take it a step further by employing the tools of the web. ReadWriteWeb reported that the initiative’s website will eventually display the process of crafting the legislation, thoughts of stakeholders, new ideas and the legislative proposal. Johnson’s senior legislative assistant told ReadWriteWeb that they are “operating from the assumption that federal law is really antiquated.”

What do you think of this transparent law-making effort?