Although the White House is taking baby steps in coming with a law package that will increase users’ protection on the internet, each so-called ‘breakthrough’ is important. All in all, it took regulators two years to finally launch the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, amid increasing scrutiny from advocacy groups and consumers.
Yesterday, the White House released a press statement introducing the blueprint of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights for the protection of online consumers. Sure, the announcement of the blueprint comes shortly after California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris revealed the smartphone privacy agreement. Announcement which fueled impatience from consumer groups asking for a set in legislation.
Anyway, as the White House press release reads the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is “part of a comprehensive blueprint to improve consumers’ privacy protections and ensure that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth”. Basically, the big fuss is about the Do Not Track technology which Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL and several others have agreed to implement.
The Do Not Track technology allows users an increased control of whatever web browsers are keeping track of. Furthermore, as stated in the Privacy Bill of Rights, companies should give consumers the option to have control over the kind of data they intend to collect, must be open about what they plan to do with the obtained data and must ensure the data’s security.
The press release also contains a statement from President Barack Obama regarding the importance of the online Privacy Bill of Rights. As the president explains the bill is essential “for businesses to succeed online” and for consumers to feel secure. “By following this blueprint, companies, consumer advocates and policy makers can help protect consumers and ensure the Internet remains a platform for innovation and economic growth”, concluded Obama.
But advocacy groups aren’t satisfied with the blueprint, saying that the regulators should extend the bill to include large advertisers too. Christopher Calabrese, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union, told Reuters: “The hope would be that this is a measure that you get all the large advertisers to agree to. Then it gets to be in their interest to get it enforced on the others through legislation”.