On February 23, 2012, the White House issued a proposal to adopt a
Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The new proposal is part of the
Administration's efforts to adopt a comprehensive consumer data
privacy framework that applies to all personal data, defined as any
data that can be linked to a specific individual or device. The
Administration's efforts are also intended to bring about
conformity with the privacy principles that have become the norm in
other countries such as in Europe, thereby increasing
interoperability between the U.S. privacy framework and that which
has arisen in the rest of the world.
For now, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is still a
blueprint and does not include enforceable rules, but the
Administration is pursuing implementation through legislation and a
multistakeholder rule-making process.
The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights adopts seven general
principles as a guide for future rule-making and legislation:
Control. Companies should present consumers with clear choices
about personal data collection, use, and disclosure, including the
ability to withdraw or to limit consent. The Administration has
already begun action on this principle. Internet and online
advertising companies including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL,
in response to calls from the Administration and the Federal Trade
Commission ("FTC"), have committed to use Do Not Track
technology from the World Wide Web Consortium in most major web
Companies should clearly disclose to consumers the scope of
information collected, how it is used, when it is deleted, and
whether it is shared with third parties.
3) Context. The use
and disclosure of personal data should be commensurate with the
relationship between company and consumer, as well as with the age
and sophistication of the consumer.
Companies should maintain safeguards to control loss, unauthorized
access, and improper disclosure of consumer data.
5) Access and
Accuracy. Companies should provide consumers with reasonable access
to their personal data as well as the ability to correct data,
request its deletion, or limit its use.
Collection. Related to the context principle, companies should
collect only as much personal data as needed to further
contextually appropriate purposes. Once data is no longer needed,
it should be deleted or de-identified.
Companies should conduct full audits where appropriate, and
companies that disclose personal data to third parties should
ensure the recipients are under enforceable obligations to adhere
to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.
In the coming months, the Administration envisions a
multistakeholder rule-making process convened by the Department of
Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information
Administration. The process would involve companies, industry
groups, privacy advocates, consumer groups, academics,
international partners, State Attorneys General, and other relevant
groups in drafting a set of rules based on the Consumer Privacy
Bill of Rights. Companies would then voluntarily commit to follow
the rules, and those commitments would become enforceable by the
The Administration is also encouraging Congress to pass
legislation implementing the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and
granting the FTC and State Attorneys General authority to directly
enforce the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.
As these implementation efforts continue, watch this blog for
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