Print 18 comment(s) - last by Moishe.. on Dec 21 at 2:35 PM

Privacy guidelines would introduce guidelines and audits to enforce privacy online

Online privacy is something on the minds of consumers and governments alike. Privacy advocates have long supported more stringent controls over the data that companies could collect and share with third-parties without the express consent of the consumer. The problem is that there are no clear cut guidelines in the U.S. that companies have to follow.

Last Thursday, new guidelines were released by the Obama administration that recommends ways to protect the privacy of consumer's online.

The new recommendations would create the "Privacy Bill of Rights" and would establish a privacy policy office within the Commerce Department. The recommendations would also establish clear guidelines for what types of data can be collected on a user and how that data can be used by companies according to a Commerce report. The Privacy Bill of Rights would give clear rules on data collection and would set up an audit trail to hold companies accountable for sticking to the rules.

Washington Post quotes commerce Secretary Gary Locke saying, "Self-regulation without stronger enforcement is not enough. Today's report is a road map for considering a new framework that is good for consumers and businesses."

The FTC proposed a more stringent Do Not Track list early this month and the Commerce department didn’t specifically endorse the call by the FTC for the Do Not Track List. The recommendation for the Commerce Department is to setup p privacy codes of conduct for businesses and step up enforcement measures by the FTC to ensure that the policies are followed.

Locke also stated that the U.S. needs to ensure that regulators here coordinate their privacy standards with the standards adopted in Europe and other countries so there is no confusion. Chris Calabrese from the ACLU said, "This is the first time that the administration has emphasized the need for comprehensive privacy protections, and that as of today it is a Wild Wild West out there for consumers and their privacy. We hope it will lead to strong administrative protections but Congress needs to act."

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By KeithP on 12/20/10, Rating: 0
By SSDMaster on 12/20/2010 11:37:52 AM , Rating: 2
I'm actually kind of optimistic about this. Every president wants to be known for something; right now Obama is known for spending dollar's like it's Yen.

I'm sure that's not the note he wants to end on. I think this has a decent chance of happening.

By Ammohunt on 12/20/2010 2:58:27 PM , Rating: 1
Whatever the government gets its fingers into usually ends badly for us. my guess is that this will cripple legitimate internet business by adding unneeded bureaucracy. It’s the equivalent of government passing a law to prevent people from putting up a billboard in their front yard with all their personal information on it. Privacy can and should be enforced by the individual and any deficiency addressed by education.

By ICBM on 12/20/2010 2:08:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I would highlight that the government needs to keep its nose out as well. Law enforcement agencies have been reaching, and this is a bigger problem with the riaa/mpaa pushing them to do their biddings. Hopefully this "bill of rights" will restrict government intrusion as well.

By gorehound on 12/20/2010 4:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
But will we get online pricacy where we never see the MAFIAA again

By Moishe on 12/21/2010 2:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely.... we need the government to keep it's damn hands off of our internet. We don't need to make a "bill of rights" for every effing thing out there.

This is just a regulation and take-over move by the biggest and more dangerous monopoly in the country. This is just what they've been doing all along with the auto industry, banking, and healthcare.

more control...
By Methal on 12/20/2010 2:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
Translation: "I want to ownz the interwebs!"

By Soldier1969 on 12/20/2010 5:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
One term President and this just re-enforces that notion!

Obama wants a bigger government?
By FITCamaro on 12/20/10, Rating: -1
RE: Obama wants a bigger government?
By BigToque on 12/20/2010 10:34:59 AM , Rating: 2
There's a big difference between what you are suggesting happens and what really happens.

What really happens is that these ad makers are coming up with ads that track your entire browsing session, follow you after you've left the website, and even manage to stick around after you've cleared your browsing history (unless you know how to delete things like flash cookies on your own).

RE: Obama wants a bigger government?
By ebakke on 12/20/2010 10:55:46 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't use of a Private Browsing feature effectively remove the problem?

By tastyratz on 12/20/2010 11:31:24 AM , Rating: 2
And locking your doors or installing an alarm is an effective way to prevent many break ins. Does this mean we don't need police handling home invasion?

This is essentially data theft and equivalent to illegal phone tapping. You don't buy a bug free phone, you make it illegal.

This is something that needs attention and we need regulation because its clearly abused. The end users should not be required to be technical and clear flash cookies or non flash cookies etc.

There should be NO automatic opt in ever and it should be explicitly disclosed start to finish, not buried 10 menus deep on a site and effective in 10 days when you opt out.

RE: Obama wants a bigger government?
By McGixxer on 12/20/2010 11:26:09 AM , Rating: 1
If I walk into a retail store, they dont get to know anything about me unless I decide to share that info with them.

Online stores should be the same.

There are companies out there that are sniffing encrypted packets of information that arent even involved with what users are doing! The reality of it is we NEED the goverment to step in and start to lay down some basic rights for us internet users just like other countries have already done or are in the process of doing because it is a problem.

The part I can't figure out is why you as an internet user don't want rights and privacy policies put into place that help protect YOU, but then again, I'm guessing by the tone of your headline and sarcasim that no matter what Obama tries to do, your one of those guys that shuts his eyes, covers his ears and yells "no! it's an Obama idea, it MUST be bad"

President issues/hang-ups aside... we deserve rights on the internet

RE: Obama wants a bigger government?
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 11:54:31 AM , Rating: 1
Brick and mortar stores also track purchases even if they don't have your name. Not to mention they charge higher mark ups to help make profits vs. the lower cost of business model of internet only stores.

And what do these sites on the internet potentially know about you except for the ones you buy things with? Your IP. They don't have your name and address either unless you give it to them. And while some online stores sell information to advertising partners, again, typically personal information isn't sold as well.

I'm not against being protected online. Nor do I think that the government will be able to stop it. Your problem is you put too much faith in the government to protect you instead of doing it yourself. This makes you lazy.

RE: Obama wants a bigger government?
By McGixxer on 12/20/2010 12:49:22 PM , Rating: 1
I have very little faith if any at all in my government. But I already do pretty much everything that can be done to protect my information online: private browser, hard and soft firewall with stealth mode, Internet security software/anti virus etc...

But from what I've read all of this is circumvented by companies who have packet sniffing techs that can find out way more then they be allowed to know that aren't even supposed to be involved with what I'm doing.

But you assume I'm lazy based off of no information to draw any rational conclusion from and that makes you something else all together ;)

By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 2:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
So if they're illegally breaking encryption (as it is illegal), prosecute them for that.

This also does absolutely nothing to help protect people against sites hosted on servers outside of the country. Which is exactly what companies that want to keep doing this would do with their sites. Effectively killing much of the US based hosting business.

RE: Obama wants a bigger government?
By room200 on 12/20/2010 1:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
Do you have a right to privacy in someone else's home? No. Same goes for their website. That's not to say they can break the law. But trying to find a way to effectively advertise is not breaking the law.

Really? Try inviting someone over then recording their conversation with you in most states? See how quickly they sue you.

By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 2:47:35 PM , Rating: 2
For one.

That's not to say they can break the law.

Second, many states have absurd laws. That California would let them sue me doesn't really say anything to me.

It would probably depend on the reasons for recording them. If it was to expose criminal activity against you, you'd most likely win. If it was to get information you shouldn't have or record something to black mail them with, you'd lose.

I'm was thinking more of expecting privacy in your use of someone else's computer in their home. Now obviously they can't illegally use information collected to get into your bank account or buy things with your card if they collect the information. But merely collecting it would not be illegal if you have the software installed for tracking what your kids are doing.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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