Opinion by Washington Post Editorial Board
The problem of information privacy can seem abstract to the everyday American. Sometimes, the harms of unregulated data collection look negligible: Who cares if an advertiser is able to target a particular type of shoe to a particular type of person? The more insidious possibilities, meanwhile, can appear hypothetical: Would someone really purchase anonymous location data, go to the trouble of re-identifying its subject and then exploit what they find to publicly harass? Now we know that the answer is yes. The consequences of Congress’s failure to pass federal legislation governing how companies collect, process and sell the reams of data available in the Internet age are starker than ever.