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President Obama Intros Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

By - Source: The White House | B 36 comments

The White House has introduced a new bill that will cover your right to personal data control online. Meanwhile, Google is installing a "do not track" button in Chrome.

The White House is finally addressing the online rights of U.S. citizens by proposing an internet-focused Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to Congress (PDF).

If passed, this legislation will allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorney generals to support and enforce the bill's framework. This bill will provide consumers with a say on how their personal information (data) is collected and used online while businesses will be required to be transparent, relaying data usage practices while also securing people's data in the process.

"This initiative seeks to protect all Americans from having their information misused by giving users new legal and technical tools to safeguard their privacy," the White House stated on Thursday. "The blueprint will guide efforts to protect privacy and assure continued innovation in the Internet economy by providing flexible implementation mechanisms to ensure privacy rules keep up with ever-changing technologies."

Essentially the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, which mostly includes Do Not Track technology for behavior-based web advertising, is broken down into seven specific consumer rights:

(1) Individual Control -- Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.

(2) Transparency -- Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.

(3) Respect for Context -- Consumers have a right to expect that companies will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.

(4) Security -- Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.

(5) Access and Accuracy -- Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data is inaccurate.

(6) Focused Collection -- Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.

(7) Accountability -- Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

"As a world leader in the Internet marketplace, the Administration believes the United States has a special responsibility to develop privacy practices that meet global standards and establish effective online consumer protection," the White House added.

Justin Brookman, the director for the non-profit civil liberties group Center for Democracy and Technology's Project on Consumer Privacy, said the White House has been working on this bill for a couple of years.

"The biggest change is that they recognize that there should be legislation to make this happen, and that was our main criticism of the proposal before--that there may not be enough stick to get industry to the table without a law to make them follow certain rules."

A Do Not Track agreement has already been signed by AOL, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo who, claims the government, accounts for 90-percent of behavior-based advertisement. This agreement essentially allows users to opt out of allowing their Internet surfing habits to be monitored and recorded by web browsers (cookies, sites visited etc). But even though the four companies entered into the agreement voluntarily, the FTC will still keep a close eye on their activities.

The new bill of rights arrives as wide-sweeping changes to Google's privacy policy are raising a big red flag with regulators. But on Thursday Google agreed to allow a "do-not-track" button to be embedded in its Chrome web browser, allowing users to restrict the amount of data that can be collected about their browsing habits.

"We're pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the 'do-not-track' header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls," Google Senior Vice President of Advertising Susan Wojcicki said in a statement.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    azathoth , February 24, 2012 12:47 AM
    It's good to see a bill that is promoting freedom!
  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , February 24, 2012 2:08 AM
    divad, the constitution protects the individual. Read it some time before you go spouting off about it. The government has the right to protect the individual. Saying it isn't freedom because it limits a company from exploiting your freedom is just like saying the government has no right to detain terrorists who attempt to bomb US property. I mean, after all, we're taking away their freedom to bomb us! People pervert the word freedom so much that it has no meaning whatsoever. If everyone had 'freedom', then why would we have laws in the first place? Everyone would have the right to do whatever they wanted to whomeveror whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Isn't that freedom? Unfortunately, it is not how a REPUBLIC is run. Try reading what the term republic means and what the term democracy means and then understand that the USA is a democratic republic. Once you have put those two terms together, actually read the constitution, and then get back to us. Please don't come back until you've done so though. Flunking 5th grade civics has not done you well sir.

  • 10 Hide
    greenrider02 , February 24, 2012 2:43 AM
    It's a good thing for people who don't know better... just the same as they make car companies enforce safety standards, because you don't expect everyone who drives a car to even remotely know how everything in it works.

    At the same time, this is going to hurt a lot of advertising and info-selling businesses that make big bucks on the web doing their morally ambiguous info-trading.

    I'm just waiting for someone to start throwing out the "job-killer" label...
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    azathoth , February 24, 2012 12:47 AM
    It's good to see a bill that is promoting freedom!
  • -6 Hide
    alidan , February 24, 2012 1:40 AM
    keyanfSo what article of the constitution does the federal government get the power to enact this law?Oh right, we live in a post Wickard v. Filburn world.

    i read the summery of the wiki... and it sickens me... how can anyone ever be patriotic?
  • 1 Hide
    fonzy , February 24, 2012 1:46 AM
    I still won't feel safe until Ron Paul is President.
  • 0 Hide
    erunion , February 24, 2012 1:55 AM
    Do as I say, not as I do from the Commander-in-Chief.
  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , February 24, 2012 2:08 AM
    divad, the constitution protects the individual. Read it some time before you go spouting off about it. The government has the right to protect the individual. Saying it isn't freedom because it limits a company from exploiting your freedom is just like saying the government has no right to detain terrorists who attempt to bomb US property. I mean, after all, we're taking away their freedom to bomb us! People pervert the word freedom so much that it has no meaning whatsoever. If everyone had 'freedom', then why would we have laws in the first place? Everyone would have the right to do whatever they wanted to whomeveror whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Isn't that freedom? Unfortunately, it is not how a REPUBLIC is run. Try reading what the term republic means and what the term democracy means and then understand that the USA is a democratic republic. Once you have put those two terms together, actually read the constitution, and then get back to us. Please don't come back until you've done so though. Flunking 5th grade civics has not done you well sir.

  • 10 Hide
    greenrider02 , February 24, 2012 2:43 AM
    It's a good thing for people who don't know better... just the same as they make car companies enforce safety standards, because you don't expect everyone who drives a car to even remotely know how everything in it works.

    At the same time, this is going to hurt a lot of advertising and info-selling businesses that make big bucks on the web doing their morally ambiguous info-trading.

    I'm just waiting for someone to start throwing out the "job-killer" label...
  • 6 Hide
    ThisIsMe , February 24, 2012 2:57 AM
    They need one of these for the credit tracking companies. It is a major pain to get anything that's false in your credit report corrected, if you ever actually get it corrected.
  • 3 Hide
    ThisIsMe , February 24, 2012 3:00 AM
    Also I find it amusing that they would choose to name it after a document that they themselves do not even acknowledge the existance of most of the time, let alone follow.
  • 4 Hide
    GenericUser , February 24, 2012 3:08 AM
    divad1978How exactly does this promote freedom by forcing the businesses to operate their business in a way that they may not want to? You have freedom not to do business with companies that do things you don't like and refuse to change. You shouldn't be given a false right though to force them against their will to comply.And no the federal government does not have a constitutional power to do this much like everything else they do.


    Except pretty much every company is low enough to be dealing our information, so there really aren't any "other" companies to do business with. Should I just not ever go on any website ever again? Because they're pretty much all tracking you.
  • 5 Hide
    LordConrad , February 24, 2012 3:12 AM
    Sounds good, but I have to wonder what earmarks will be attached to it. Probably more crap from the MPAA.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 24, 2012 3:25 AM
    In the mean time, i will just use Firefox with add-ons to protect my privacy: Noscript, Ghostery, Adblock, Better Privacy, WOT, Flagfox, and FlashBlock. Much safer than Google Chrome.
  • 6 Hide
    tlmck , February 24, 2012 4:23 AM
    How about some compensation for the use of "my" personal data. Either that or allow me to file theft charges.
  • -5 Hide
    nebun , February 24, 2012 4:33 AM
    fonzyI still won't feel safe until Ron Paul is President.

    i hear you man....RON PAUL for president
  • 5 Hide
    LORD_ORION , February 24, 2012 4:54 AM
    Did you watch Colbert Report on what Target knows about you?

    They are so deadly accurate about major life events, that they sent pregnancy related advertising to a family before the knocked up daughter told her dad about it....
  • -6 Hide
    alidan , February 24, 2012 4:59 AM
    greenrider02It's a good thing for people who don't know better... just the same as they make car companies enforce safety standards, because you don't expect everyone who drives a car to even remotely know how everything in it works.At the same time, this is going to hurt a lot of advertising and info-selling businesses that make big bucks on the web doing their morally ambiguous info-trading.I'm just waiting for someone to start throwing out the "job-killer" label...


    people make full time jobs because they sell advertising, and google gives us mountains of services because of ads, i dont care if where i brows the web is tracked so long as its just the places i go and not the content i seak out, so long as i get to use google services, and many websites for free due to the ads.

    GenericuserExcept pretty much every company is low enough to be dealing our information, so there really aren't any "other" companies to do business with. Should I just not ever go on any website ever again? Because they're pretty much all tracking you.


    google makes a few extra $ because they sell my info, they give me a decent chat program and 10 person video chat, for free... they single handedly forced email into the gb range, and are also giveing free web hosting. they help every one on the internet, and they make their money through ads and selling info... i see it as a worthy cause.

    bunnywannyIn the mean time, i will just use Firefox with add-ons to protect my privacy: Noscript, Ghostery, Adblock, Better Privacy, WOT, Flagfox, and FlashBlock. Much safer than Google Chrome.


    i use no script because many adds that arent google eat the crap out of system resources, and flash block because it had a habbit of useing WAY to much resources... beyond that, you are just paranoid.

    tlmckHow about some compensation for the use of "my" personal data. Either that or allow me to file theft charges.


    do you have to pay for google?
    youtube?
    how about gmail? they made using gb the standard of email, they also have free pop3 or something like that, untill gmail, that was a pay service.
  • 0 Hide
    elfsun , February 24, 2012 5:36 AM
    I really didn't care if there werewolf others watching me when I surf the Internet before, because I didn't know, even didn't realized such things. But since I know I can be tracked by so many people. I do care.
    I have installed Do Not track plus in all my browsers.(except the Avant browser which cannot show the button) and I'm glad google will add the not-track button in chrome.
    Hope other browser will add this button too and ASAP.
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