ECA Call to Action: Madison's Used-Item Seller Database

September 22, 2011 -

The Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) has issued an alert concerning a proposal before the Madison (Wisconsin) City Council that would force second-hand resellers to out sellers personal information in a database that local police would have access to. Obviously this is not a good idea - even in the name of tracking down criminals who steal and receive various goods - usually to fuel some type of addiction. The ECA's letter to members follows:

"A proposed Madison city ordinance to catch addicts and crooks attempting to sell stolen items to secondhand stores and pawn shops would also lead to an overarching reach into the privacy of innocent individuals.

The ordinance, which will be considered in October, would require a photo and other personal information about anyone who sold an item to a business to be kept on hand by businesses for six months. There are so many things disturbing about this.

There are serious civil liberties issues, as the government would be able to see what video games and movies we use and sell. Further, there is no provision insuring that the collected information will not be shared with third-parties.

While it’s understandable that the police and government want to do everything they can to prevent the selling of stolen goods, those steps should be done without trampling on our civil rights and privacy.
"



A link to take action offers a form letter that you can send to the Madison City Council expressing your disdain:

Subject: I don’t want Big Brother Knowing My Gaming Habits

I am writing to you today about the proposed city ordinance that would require photos and other personal information about anyone who sells an item to a business. While I understand that the goal is to catch thieves and prevent the selling of stolen goods, what it does is make those of us who have done nothing wrong feel like Big Brother government is watching and it’d penalize those of us without photos.

A large segment of video games sales is in the second hand market. Many of these are sold to stores by children who don’t have photo identification and whose age makes it rather questionable to hand over their addresses to strangers. This vital part of the industry could grind to a halt in the area and in dry up a much needed revenue stream for businesses and video game players.

The idea of a database of my video game and movie interests also bothers me. I don’t believe the government has any interest in knowing my entertainment consumption habits. The information would be entered into a database which has no restrictions as to how it’s used. Profiling and data transfer could easily occur without checks and balances.

Crime and theft are horrible things, but trying to prevent it by trampling on the civil liberties and privacy of innocent constituents is not the way to do it. While I may not be a criminal, this ordinance makes me feel like one. If you have any questions on this or other similar issues please contact Jennifer Mercurio, the Entertainment Consumers Association’s Director of Government Affairs, at Jenn@theECA.com. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
XXXX

[Full disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]

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Comments

Re: ECA Call to Action: Madison's Used-Item Seller Database

And here's a good example of why I didn't join the ECA.  Knee-jerk "Big Brother wants to look at my games list" reactions to things that are useful and unobtrusive.  There is nothing wrong with this ordinance and the ECA's, and GP's, stance on it is ridiculous.

Re: ECA Call to Action: Madison's Used-Item Seller Database

1) GP, Spell and grammar checking wont do enough. READ YOUR ARTICLES. There are glaring errors in this one AGAIN. It's sad that I've had to point this out to you so many times.

2) I do not support the ECA in this. Do you really think that Police officers give a shit what games or products you've sold or traded? Do you think they have time to sift through databases to see what you've been doing, without a reason to do so? Odds are this law would require a court order or active case to even look in the database anyway. Does the ECA talk about this at all? Of course not!

Worse yet, THERE IS NO DATABASE! The law simply requires businesses to demand the information (which most already do) and then keep the information for 6 months (which most already do) and then allow police to see it (which they can already do with a court order!)

If you want to challenge the law, challenge it on the fact that these laws don't work. Take a look at other jurisdictions (there are several in Canada) which have already passed such laws, and simply ask them if it's solved a single case.

I'm so sick of people who challenge rules and or laws based on "Privacy" and "Civil liberties" when they are clearly not at stake.

 

EDIT: Having re-read the article, then the actual ECA information about this issue, I have to absolve the ECA partially. It's GP which has twisted the facts at hand, not the ECA. If you visit the ECA website there is not a single mention of a database.

Re: ECA Call to Action: Madison's Used-Item Seller Database

If the database only tracks used sales for a limited amount of time, say 6 months, and then was purged, so no sales older than 6 months or 1 year would be continued to be tracked then I wouldn't mind.

The only part of this that does bother me is that younger children or anyone not able to give ID would have their right to second sale effectively removed.

I think it is the wrong solution to this problem. The ECA only cares because it will impace used game sales.

Re: ECA Call to Action: Madison's Used-Item Seller Database

The hive mind hath spoken! And the editor is asleep!

Even if there were a database only large shifts in goods would get their attention... like the headline above. :P

 


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: ECA Call to Action: Madison's Used-Item Seller Database

I don't see how this would help as pawn shops want your name, address and phone number I am unsure tho what Game stop wants when you sell a used game.


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: ECA Call to Action: Madison's Used-Item Seller Database

Depending on your state's laws, Gamestop is considered a pawn shop and must follow the state's pawn shop laws. That means that they must ask for legitimate contact information if an issue arises .

Re: ECA Call to Action: Madison's Used-Item Seller Database

Here in Panama City Fl. you are required to be 17 or older in order to do any "trades" at Gamestop, Best Buy, Pawn Shops, etc. with a valid drivers license as well.  In regards to us this is because of Florida Law.  Personal information is gathered every time someone sells a game, but the paperwork and a fingerprint is only needed if it is for cash.  Items that go for cash also have to be held for a 2 week period before the store can turn around and sell the items.

So other than the database, this is really not that much different from existing state laws here.  And the paperwork is kept so it would only speed up the process if someone went through them instead of just rifling through a bunch of sheets.

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
Editor and Host of the Zenspath Podcast (now on iTunes)
www.ZensPath.com
XBL: "PsychoticZen" PSN: "Zenspath"
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