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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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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.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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