To much ballyhoo and press coverage, the Obama administration has released a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. However, it appears the privacy rights consumers are entitled to on the Internet will become a topic for discussion with companies that oftentimes abuse those rights.
At present, the Bill of Rights consists mainly of a set of high ideals companies should maintain when caring for consumer data. However, according to the White House press release, after consultation with industry groups and consumer groups eventually these goals will become more specific and actionable.
The goals at present cover four main categories:
Much less media coverage was given to the fact that the Privacy Bill of Rights is only one component of what the Obama Administration is proposing. Introduced along with the Bill of Rights was a 62-page report titled, “Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy," which includes applying privacy issues to specific business contexts; enforcement; and agreements with international partners to “increase interoperability with privacy frameworks.”
I wonder how we should interpret that second component, applying privacy issues to specific business contexts? Does it mean the level of consumer privacy a consumer is given is dependent on the business context in which it is placed? Shouldn't the privacy be an absolute, not dependent on business context?
Here’s another part I don't quite understand: In its press release and in its proposals the White House constantly reminds us that specifics will be determined after consultation with an array of stakeholders.
“In the coming weeks, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will convene stakeholders – including companies, privacy and consumer advocates, technical experts, international partners, and academics – to establish specific practices or codes of conduct that implement the general principles in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.”