Today, the Obama administration has addressed the recent revelations about commercial appropriation of consumers’ online data by unveiling a new consumer “Privacy Bill of Rights”.
The proposal is meant to provide consumers with more control over how their personal data is used and to help businesses build trust with their customers.
The White House also announced that Google, Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft, have all agreed to submit to Do Not Track technology and provide consumers with a means to control their online privacy.
The proposed Privacy Bill of Rights deals with six key areas of online data management:
- Transparency: Companies policies regarding security should be easily understandable to consumers.
- Respect for Context: Consumers should expect that companies will collect, use and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide such data.
- Security: Personal data should be handled securely and responsibly.
- Access and Accuracy: Consumers should be able to access and correct personal data.
- Focused Collection: Data collection should be held within “reasonable limits.”
- Accountability: Consumers have the right to have their personal data handled by companies and organizations that adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.
The new proposal from the Obama administration comes after Google was found to be tracking users’ data via iPhones, a revelation that came to light as the company was being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission.
Other companies, like Facebook, have also repeatedly come under fire for taking its users’ privacy too lightly.
“American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online,” said President Obama. “As the Internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy. That’s why an online privacy Bill of Rights is so important. For businesses to succeed online, consumers must feel secure. By following this blueprint, companies, consumer advocates and policymakers can help protect consumers and ensure the Internet remains a platform for innovation and economic growth.”
The advertising industry has also pledged not to release consumers’ data to companies who might use it for purposes other than advertising, such as employers making hiring decisions or insurers determining coverage.
“It’s great to see that companies are stepping up to our challenge to protect privacy so consumers have greater choice and control over how they are tracked online. More needs to be done, but the work they have done so far is very encouraging,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.
- Online privacy bill remains elusive – Politico (politico.com)
- Privacy Report Could Be Released This week (techdailydose.nationaljournal.com)