(The Hosting News) – The United States Congress could soon take on the issue of online privacy rights following the White House’s introduction of a blueprint for a “Privacy Bill of Rights” on Thursday.
The White House said the goal is to “improve consumers’ privacy protections and ensure that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.”
In recent years, the issue of online privacy has been brought to the forefront of online concerns as more users access the web via devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones. Top online entities such as search engines and social networks have long sought Internet user data as a way to target consumers for advertising.
The blueprint lays out generalized guidelines with calls for transparency, security, context and accountability among other things.
The White House also wants companies to only be able to obtain a “reasonable” amount of data from consumers and the blueprint states that users should be able to “access and correct personal data in usable formats.”
“American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online,” stated U.S. President Barack Obama in a White House press release concerning the matter.
The President continued, “As the Internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy. That’s why an online privacy Bill of Rights is so important. For businesses to succeed online, consumers must feel secure.”
Internet giant Google most recently found itself accused of secretly embedding cookies into Apple web browser Safari to obtain user data for advertising. The matter was revealed in a report from the Wall Street Journal and drew high profile criticism from Microsoft who took advantage of the occasion to highlight security advantages of the company’s Internet Explorer web browser.
“This type of tracking by Google is not new. The novelty here is that Google apparently circumvented the privacy protections built into Apple’s Safari browser in a deliberate, and ultimately, successful fashion,” stated Internet Explorer Business and Marketing GM Ryan Gavin in a blog post on the Windows Stream Blog last week.
Google has since worked to correct the issue with Safari.
Within the past year, tracking has become an issue with both Apple and Google (via Android) accused of secretly documenting the locations of smartphone and tablet users. However, companies have long defended data tracking as a way to personalize and improve the online experience for consumers.
Despite the White House’s introduction of the blueprint, a report from CNN Money was quick to note the release’s vagueness. However, the White House says that in the near future the Commerce Department will hold a stakeholder meeting to detail the bill’s provisions. For more information on the matter, view a press release from the White House here (whitehouse.gov).