White House announces Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

As the privacy of Internet user seems to be eroding with every passing day and online companies can’t seem to guarantee them that their personal information will not be misused, the Obama Administration has stepped in to share their plane to protect privacy in this Internet age by adopting a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

“The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies to personal data, which means any data, including aggregations of data, that is linkable to a specific individual,” says the White House. “Personal data may include data that is linked to a specific computer or other device.”

The elements of the Privacy Bill of Rights are:

  • Individual control – Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.
  • Transparency – Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.
  • 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.
  • Security – Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
  • 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.
  • Focused collection – Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
  • 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.

This Bill of Rights is only the first step a thought-out plan for defending the users’ right to online privacy.

The President expects the Commerce Department??€�s NTIA to convene stakeholders including industry and privacy advocates to develop enforceable codes of conduct that implement the principles in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights for specific industry sectors, and the FTC to enforce those agreed-upon rules.

“U.S. companies doing business on the global Internet depend on the free flow of information across borders,” points out the White House. “The Administration’s plan lays the groundwork for increasing interoperability between the U.S. data privacy framework and those of our trading partners. The plan emphasizes mutual recognition of privacy frameworks, an international role for codes of conduct, and enforcement cooperation.”

Many Internet giants such as Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL voiced their support of the Bill, and even Google stood behind it and announced that it will be including a “Do Not Track” option in the upcoming versions of its Chrome browser.

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