By Steve Pociask, American Consumer Institute
Miami-Dade consumers may soon have less control over their personal information if the Board of County Commissioners get their way. The county commission recently proposed a new ordinance which, if adopted, would force popular app-based food delivery services like DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats operating in the county to share sensitive information about their customers with restaurants. Vendors that violate the ordinance would face fines of up to $10,000 per day.
Proponents, like Commissioner Kionne McGhee, say the ordnance is needed to improve communication between restaurants and customers and to “protect consumers.” However, in practice, the ordinance would force platforms to share sensitive information about consumers, including their name and contact information – a dramatic overreach that undermines their personal privacy and puts their data at risk.
The ordinance as proposed simply has no safeguards in place for how restaurants would protect the trove of sensitive information that they would now be tasked with handling. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of employing cybersecurity personnel or investing in the latest technology to prevent intrusions. Unfortunately, criminals know this — small businesses are increasingly the victims of hacks, harming both them and their customers.
In recent years, numerous high-profile restaurant franchises have suffered significant data breaches. If these businesses, which have significantly greater resources to dedicate to best practices in data protection, can still fall victim to data breaches, local restaurants are an even easier target for bad actors, putting consumers squarely in their crosshairs.
The risk to consumers will also hurt the very businesses that this ordinance is intended to help – local restaurants. If consumers are hesitant to place orders online because of the threat of their personal information being exposed, that would lead to less revenue for local restaurants.
In the end, all stakeholders stand to lose from this misguided ordinance.
The Board of County Commissioners should oppose these legislative efforts that would introduce such harmful consequences. While the county may have an honest desire to protect local restaurants and support consumer transparency measures, passing this ordinance furthers neither agenda.
Consumers have a right to know that their information is safe from exposure online and those who would seek to exploit it for personal gain. Consumers deserve better.
Steve Pociask is president and CEO of the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research Organization. For more information about the Institute, follow us on Twitter (X) @ConsumerPal or visit our website at www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org.