Web

Obama unveils Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

president-obama-privacy-bill-of-rights

The White House today unveiled a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” intended to serve as a guideline for new legislation to protect people’s online privacy. The Privacy Bill of Rights outlines what types of information Internet companies may collect, how that information may be used, ways for users to easily access their private data, and correct any errors in the information.

“American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online,” said President Obama in a statement. “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.  For businesses to succeed online, consumers must feel secure. By following this blueprint, companies, consumer advocates and policymakers can help protect consumers and ensure the Internet remains a platform for innovation and economic growth.”

The rights outlined in the measure are outlined by the White House as such:

  • Individual Control:  Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data organizations collect from them and how they use it.
  • Transparency:  Consumers have a right to easily understandable information about privacy and security practices.
  • Respect for Context:  Consumers have a right to expect that organizations 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 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 are 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 assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights serves as one of four key elements to the total “blueprint.” The other parts include: enforcement of these rights by the Federal Trade Commission; a “stakeholder-driven process” to define how these rights will apply to specific businesses; and a plan for coordinating the framework of these rights with those of international partners.

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will in the coming weeks meet with a number of parties that will be affected by the establishment of these rights, including business, privacy and consumer rights advocacy groups, technical experts, international partners, and academics. During these meetings the Commerce Department will “establish specific practices or codes of conduct” that will allow for the implementation of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

In addition, the White House announced that Google, Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo — which together deliver more than 90 percent of all behavioral advertising on the Web — have agreed to support the use of Do Not Track technology in most major Web browsers. Do Not Track allows users to block companies from tracking where they move around the Internet, and is strongly supported by digital rights advocacy groups, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

While the Obama administration has been working on the development of the Privacy Bill of Rights over the past two years, its unveiling could not have come at a more appropriate time. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen: Google come under fire for bypassing the privacy settings in both Safari and Internet Explorer browsers, as well as a heated debate over its new, unified privacy policy; Path, Hipster, and a wide range of other mobile apps access and upload users’ contact lists without permission; and, of course, Facebook once again scrutinized for its new Open Graph platform, which allows for “frictionless sharing” of user data and activities on the Web.

In other words, this move is well past due.

To read more about the White House’s full plan, click here: pdf.

[Image via White House/Flickr]

Mobile

Verizon’s 5G is blazing fast on the Galaxy S10 5G, if you’re on the right block

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is finally here, and we went to Chicago to test its 5G connectivity capabilities on Verizon's 5G network. Like with the Moto Z3 and Moto Mod, service is still limited, but it's super fast.
Mobile

5G your old phone: HTC’s 5G Hub is now available for pre-order from Sprint

HTC almost made a phone. The HTC 5G Hub runs Android 9 Pie, has a Qualcomm 855 processor with the X50 modem, 4GB of RAM, and an HD touchscreen -- but it's a hot spot designed to connect to 5G networks.
Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

Late spring weather isn’t the only thing heating up. The technology sector offers some of the hottest jobs in the country, and talent and experience are in high demand. May is blooming with thousands of high-paying positions all over the…
Social Media

Be the master of your own Insta-verse with multiple Instagram accounts

Whether you own a small business or have separate Instagram accounts for your five cats, we'll walk you through the process of switching between your multiple accounts on your Apple or Android devices.
Social Media

A fond farewell to Grumpy Cat, the internet’s most famous feline

We say farewell and fondly remember Grumpy Cat, the internet's most famous frowning feline meme and a genuine sweetheart, who died at the age of seven. Even tempered and tolerant, Grumpy Cat was in real life nearly the opposite of her…
Movies & TV

Tired of Netflix? Here's where to find free movies online, legally

We've spent countless hours digging around the web to find the best sites for streaming free movies online. Not only are all of these sites completely free to use, they're also completely legal and trustworthy.
Web

Gmail logs your purchase history, undermining Google’s commitment to privacy

Google has tried to portray itself as privacy-focused. But a new report shows Google tracks many of your online purchases, even if they are bought from a non-Google affiliated store like Amazon.
Computing

Whether you want to edit, sign, or append, PDFs, these are the best PDF editors

While there are plenty of PDF editor options online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Web

Creators of WhatsApp attack software face lawsuit from Amnesty International

This week a spyware attack was launched on WhatsApp. Now the Israeli firm linked to that attack is facing a lawsuit from human rights NGO Amnesty International, alleging their software has been used to surveil human rights defenders.
Social Media

Millions of Instagram influencers reportedly had private data exposed online

As many as 49 million Instagram influencers have reportedly had their private data exposed in an online database that had no password protection. The database was apparently created by a marketing firm and has been taken offline.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk thinks Starlink satellite internet could be online before 2021

Elon Musk's ultra-ambitious Starlink space internet project may take until November 2027 to be fully operational. However, some level of service could be offered as soon as next year.
Web

What is Reddit? A beginner’s guide to the front page of the internet

If you spend much time online, you've probably heard of Reddit. Here, we break down the terminology, perks, and inner workings of everyone's favorite social platform. Understanding the "front page of the internet" has never been so easy.