Why A “Privacy Bill of Rights” For the U.S.?

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

This opinion piece by Leslie Harris of the Center for Democracy and Technology efficiently summarizes the case for privacy protections in the United States. As she notes at the outset:

“We are the only country in the OECD except for Turkey that fails to provide baseline protections for consumer data that is collected online and offline. ….Every day, our personal data are scattered like breadcrumbs to pigeons in the park, across the Internet and beyond to advertisers, social network sites, data brokers, direct marketers and the myriad companies we do business with. Our privacy laws simply haven’t moved in step with the way our capacity to collect, process and share our personal information.”

The “online and offline” qualifier is important, because the much-reported “Do Not Track” initiatives proposed by the Federal Trade Commission relate only to online data gathering. In contrast, the privacy bill recently introduced into the U.S. Senate jointly by Senators John McCain and John Kerry sets out basic principles to be observed by all companies that collect and/or store personal data. As is true in many new legislative efforts, the details might not all be perfect in the first iteration. However, the State of California has just reported its own proposed privacy law out of committee, and a patchwork of state legislation already complicates life for many businesses. A single guiding Federal statute would be good for businesses.

Roger Grimes of Microsoft presents a different approach in his blog, reprinted in InfoWorld, but his conclusion is the same. Privacy does matter, and businesses had better begin to plan for dealing with an increasingly nervous and defensive customer base.

Click here to read Leslie Harris’ opinion:

Read Roger Grimes’ blog here:

From the FTC:

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