Over two years in the making, and backed by online ad powerhouses such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, and even Google, the Bill of Rights announcement on February 22, 2012 pulls together consumer privacy initiatives of both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Commerce department. Intended to lead to new legislation that fills the gaps of current U.S. privacy laws, the bill promotes a set of standards for the fair handling of private information based on a set of principles that date back to the early 1970s known as the Fair Information Practices.
The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies to personal information, which means any data, including aggregations of data that is identifiable to a specific individual, and to a specific computer or other device. According to the Administration, this bill will establish codes of conduct and call for strong enforcement, ultimately increasing interoperability between the U.S. consumer data privacy framework and that of its international partners. Below are the bill’s highlights.
- Individual control. Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them 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 a 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 ensure that they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.