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Obama administration introduces Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

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Will the president's seven points of protection be enough?

We've trusted companies such as Google, whose unofficial motto is "don't be evil," to act in our best privacy interests while we surf the web. But with wide-sweeping changes to Google's privacy policy on deck that are drawing attention of regulators, consumers are having second doubts about the industry's shining knight. Even Apple's privacy policy is under assault from the government after the company turned a blind eye to privacy abuses by app developers.

Enter President Obama. Today, his administration introduced the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, a sweeping seven point document that seeks to protect Americans' privacy as they use the internet. The seven points are:

Individual Control: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.
Transparency: Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.
Respect for Context: Consumers have a right to expect that companies will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
Security: Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
Access and Accuracy: Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data is inaccurate.
Focused Collection: Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
Accountability: Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is only a guideline — companies are under no obligation to respect the proposed rules unless congress acts to put them into law. Still, in coming days, government officials will be working with internet companies such as Google and Facebook to help them craft privacy policies that respect the above seven points.

[Image credit: Ralph Aichinger]

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This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Tecca

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