Internet Privacy Bill of Rights Unveiled by White House

Internet giants like Google and Facebook love to collect data on their users. But that could become a little bit more difficult now that the White House has introduced an internet privacy bill of rights.

The Consumer Privacy bill of rights hopes to protect the privacy rights of internet users. CBS reports that the initiative outlines principles that the White House hopes major companies will adapt.

The White House writes in a press release:

“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 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.”

The News Herald reports that most privacy experts are skeptical of the new bill of rights. Paul Stephens, the director of policy for the nonprofit group Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, said that the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is a good idea but right now it’s nothing more than a statement. Stephens said:

“The devil is going to be in the details… It is a framework that certainly represents a decent start.”

Rainey Reitman, activism director for the digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said:

“Anybody can stand behind some broad principles about respecting privacy rights. Whether it’s enforceable is still a far-off issue.”

Here are some bullet points from the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. (You can read the full bill here.)

  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.

What do you think of the internet privacy bill of rights? Should the government be regulating the internet?