White House Drops ‘Consumer Privacy Bill Of Rights Act’ Draft

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In a late-Friday release, the White House published a draft of its proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. You can read the full text here. The bill sets out to, in its own words, “establish baseline protections for individual privacy in the commercial arena and to foster timely, flexible implementations of these protections through enforceable codes of conduct developed by diverse stakeholders.”

The proposal details what an individual should be able to expect from a service that they use, including how security is managed. It also deals with data deletion, and the revocation of consent on the part of a user. A service would have 45 days to comply with a deletion request.

Also enumerated is a restriction of what sort of information that can be collected:

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The proposal also allows for consumers to request the private data held by a third party. That point, however, is moot if the individual’s request is, and I quote, “frivolous or vexatious.”

Reaction to the proposal has been unsurprisingly swift. Berin Szoka, the president of TechFreedom, a foe of the FCC’s Title II-based net neutrality rules, said the following:

“[T]oday, the White House proposed new rules on how Internet companies use consumer data that would fundamentally change the way Internet businesses work[.] […]

The good news is: this bill is dead in the water. That much should be obvious from the timing of the release: 4 p.m. on a Friday. With its credibility on privacy in tatters, the Administration apparently gave up on finding Congressional sponsors for the bill.

That’s sufficiently strident.

The Center for Digital Democracy also voted no: “The legislation creates a huge loophole that practically eviscerates any real privacy protection and consumer control of their data.”

Finally, Senator Ed Markey in a statement called the bill insufficient:

Instead of codes of conduct developed by industries that have historically been opposed to strong privacy measures, we need uniform and legally-enforceable rules that companies must abide by and consumers can rely upon. We didn’t celebrate a great victory yesterday in the fight to protect the Internet for American consumers just to turn around and enable their online information to be easy prey for digital bandits seeking to pilfer Americans’ personal information.

Then again, if Mr. Szoka is correct, there is little need to critique the thing.