Thursday, February 23, 2012

Obama administration pushes for privacy bill of rights but keeps it voluntary, for now

The White House has proposed a privacy “bill of rights” for Internet users, as stated in a Reuters-Yahoo (Jasmin Melvin) news story this morning, link here. The rights would include consumers’ ability to control the kind of data collected.

Nevetheless, Ceclia Kang reported Thursday, on p. A12 of the Washington Post, that the privacy guidelines and implicit “bill of rights”, while stronger, would be managed by voluntary consortium-like groups within industry, as in this story.  This seems to be Silicon Valley’s “last best chance” to avoid stronger regulation in the law.

Tracking, which affects advertising that users see, may be a sensitive issue in families (or workplaces) where multiple persons use the same computer; it is much less sensitive for computers used by one adult person, probably less sensitive in the mobile environment.

Jon Brodkin has an essay in Ars Technica, Feb. 22, on the difficulty of enforcing privacy standards (or their circumvention), and the history of P3P (Platform for Privacy Preferences Project), from 2003, here

The White House has also recently announced a $10000 prize to Internet app developers to provide an application that connects business and government, story here

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