This week, the White House announced a framework to protect consumer privacy in the digital age of smartphones and constant Internet access.
This week, the White House announced a framework to protect consumer privacy in the digital age of smartphones and constant Internet access. The voluntary corporate guidelines called the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights "give consumers clear guidance on what they should expect from those who handle their personal information, and set expectations for companies that use personal data."
For now, the Federal Trade Commission will monitor those companies who voluntarily agree to these terms, though President Obama stresses in the document that he hopes to see Congress pass official legislation protecting the public's online privacy and personal data. We may be months away from seeing the real-world implications of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, but here's what you need to know about how each principle outlined by the president may affect your future online presence.
"Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it."
Companies should offer clear options for the public to make decisions about the personal information collected and used for business purposes. The tools for later withdrawing or limiting consent should be as easily accessible as were the methods of initial sign-up and granting of private data use.
How This Effects You: For example, there's no obvious deletion button for those who want to remove Facebook. With this principle, a data deletion feature would be easily accessible.
"Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices."
Companies should ensure all privacy practices are understandable by the public. Clear descriptions of exactly what data is collected, why it's used, for how long, when it will be deleted, and whether it's shared with outside parties should be provided to customers.
How This Effects You: Forget complicated, 20-page-long privacy policies; companies adhering to these standards would explain where your information is being used in normal, nontechnical-jargon language.
Follow the break to learn how the five other points on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights will affect you.