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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.

The 
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."





"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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