Browser-Based Do-Not-Track Is on Track

2/27/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Washington — The White House came out
with its recommendations on online data privacy,
backing a voluntary privacy bill of rights and praising online advertising-industry

“We applaud the administration for bringing
attention to the value of consumer-focused,
multistakeholder efforts to improve privacy,”
said National Cable & Telecommunications
Association president Michael Powell.

The Obama administration wants that privacy
bill of rights to be codified in legislation,
but recognizing that is not likely in an election
year, it is pushing online businesses to officially
commit to those principles, which means the
Federal Trade Commission could enforce
them, treating any breach of that promise as
an unfair and deceptive practice.

Commerce Secretary John Bryson said the
bill of rights was needed now. “We cannot
wait,” he told reporters last week. The bill of
rights is part of a white paper on privacy, released
last week, which becomes the administration
position on the issue to Congress and

Former cable attorney Cameron Kerry,
now general counsel for the Commerce
Department, was instrumental in
promoting the multistakeholder model
approach. In outlining the approach last summer,
Kerry said: “The Federal government will
not hold the pen in writing industry codes of
conduct. The government will not force anyone
in the private sector to adopt them.”

The administration has recognized adindustry
efforts backing a browser-based
do-not-track mechanism that will allow
computer users to more easily opt out of
most data collection across the majority of
online businesses.

Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

The White House last week released an
online data privacy bill of rights backed by
President Obama; online businesses and
Internet-service providers are being asked
to support it in the absence of legislation
to codify it.

Individual control: Consumers have a
right to exercise control over what personal
data companies collect from them and how
the companies use it.

Transparency: Consumers have a right
to easily understandable and accessible
information about privacy and security

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. In
particular, the principles in the Consumer
Privacy Bill of Rights may require greater
protections for personal data obtained
from children and teenagers than for

Security: Consumers have a right to secure
and responsible handling of personal

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.

SOURCE: White House

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