The White House Thursday made a push to protect the privacy of online users by announcing the voluntary Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights (CPBR). The bill is designed to give consumers more control over the information they share on the Internet. Obama is calling on the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration to work with companies, privacy advocates, and stakeholders to determine specific rules which reflect the sentiment in the CPBR. Companies which agree to abide by the CPBR, including Google, AOL, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, will be subject to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement. The principles are: individual control, transparency, respect for context, security, access to accuracy, focused collection, and accountability. Obama said in a statement:
“American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online … As the Internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy. That’s why an online privacy bill of rights is so important.”
Obama hopes to work with Congress to craft legislation which reflects the principles in the CPBR.
Is the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights an honest attempt at protecting privacy, or is it political showmanship in an election year? Is it likely that a voluntary agreement will have enough teeth to protect consumers?