White House, Congress Team For Privacy Bill
News broke Wednesday that the White House plans to cooperate with Congress to enact online privacy legislation based on a new "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights." In turn, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL are committing to support Do Not Track technology in most major Web browsers.
And not a moment too soon, CNet reports. “The announcement comes as Google, Apple, and other technology companies are being increasingly criticized for not doing enough to protect consumers' privacy rights online.”
“In light of such controversies, privacy groups had urged government officials to adopt the ‘do not track’ mandate, but software developers and advertising firms have decried the technology as expensive and difficult to implement,” notes The Washington Post.
“The do-not-track agreement is part of a broader set of principles laid out in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, which are as a whole intended to give people more control of their information online,” The Verge writes.
“The framework for a new privacy code moves electronic commerce closer to a one-click, one-touch process by which users can tell Internet companies whether they want their online activity tracked,” according to The New York Times. “Much remains to be done before consumers can click on a button in their Web browser to set their privacy standards.”
Indeed, “there is one huge, glaring omission: there is no plan for implementation or enforcement,” Gizmodo writes of the proposed policy. “Plenty of principles, lots of theories, and a great many sentiments, but no cold, hard suggestions of how it can be made to work.”
That said, “the planned privacy bill of rights consists of seven basic protections consumers should expect from companies,” according to Reuters. For starters: “Consumers would have control over the kind of data companies collect, companies must be transparent about data usage plans and respect the context in which it is provided and disclosed,” while, “Companies would have to ensure secure and responsible handling of the data and be accountable for strong privacy measures.”
“How strong the protections will be ultimately depends on what rules parties can reach consensus on,” writes the Associated Press. “The administration favored a multistakeholder approach that has hints of self-regulation because legislation to enable traditional regulation would take time.”