Home / Spring 2012 / 2012-03-01 / Internet privacy act proposed

Internet privacy act proposed

While internet privacy is a huge concern, both here at VSU and elsewhere, the Obama Administration has released what they call a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, which intends to give people the right to control how personal data is collected and used.

According to a press release put out by the Administration, the Bill of Rights, which is intended for the personal data of internet users, is intended to insure that users of the internet, referred to as “consumers” in the document, are given the ability to control how this data is used, and that this ability is easily available to the consumer.

“This initiative seeks to protect all Americans from having their information misused by giving users new legal and technical tools to safeguard their privacy,” the press release reads.

The release of the Bill of Rights has come at a time when discussion about privacy has been brought to the forefront, expecially considering Google’s recent decision to consolidate the privacy policies of all of their websites.

Google, which hopes for a policy that reflects their “desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience,” has come under fire for this, with critics expressing concerns about a user’s information being combined across all Google-run websites, citing the lack of clarity in the new privacy policy about how this personal information will be used.

VSU users, many of whom are on Facebook, have expressed concerns about how this data has been used, and some have controlled what they put on the site.

“I am comfortable, because I don’t put detailed stuff on there,” Keating Conroy, marketing major, said.

Some VSU students were a little more aware.

“I am conscious with everything that I put on a social blogging network,” Jamal Wilson, mass media major, said. “I wouldn’t put anything that would compromise myself, or my image, or my family, in any way.”

VSU student Megan Morrissey also felt online consciousness was important.

“I don’t really put too much stuff on Facebook,” Megan Morrissey, theater major, said. “I’ve heard stories online, just things getting into the wrong hands, so I just put out the basic information.”

Facebook’s privacy policy, which appears in a link on the bottom of the front page, explains what the site does with the personal data collected, and how the personal data is used.

The page also explains that Facebook does not share information unless given permission.

“Your trust is important to us,” the page reads.

The press release stated that enforcement of this Bill of Rights would be the domain of the Federal Trade Commission.

“FTC enforcement is critical to ensuring that companies are accountable for adhering to their privacy commitments and that bad actors do not disadvantage responsible companies,” the release reads. “The Administration expects that a company’s public commitment to adhere to a code of conduct will be enforceable under existing FTC authority, just as a company is bound today to follow its privacy commitments.”

The Administration intends to work with Congress in an attempt to enforce this Bill of Rights.

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