In a recent blog post, we reported that the White House, in conjunction with the Department of Commerce, had released a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The document promises open, transparent forums where industry members and consumer advocates can work together to create reasonable codes of conduct that will lead to privacy solutions for consumers. It outlines a framework with the the following guidelines:

  • Individual Control: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect 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.

The Administration now wants to hear from you – what are your biggest privacy concerns? Which topic should this process tackle first? You can submit comments through a survey on our website, but be sure to do so before Monday, April 2nd, when comments are due.

Consumers Union commends the White House for this comprehensive initiative. The Administration plans to work with Congress to turn these rights into a comprehensive privacy law and to grant the FTC enforcement authority. We will follow the implementation of this document going forward and we hope all stakeholders will cooperate in achieving these admirable goals.