Obama calls for stronger personal data protection

US President Barack Obama speaks in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2015 (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski) (AFP)

Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said Monday he will introduce legislation to beef up and standardize personal data protection on the Internet.

"Right now, almost every state has a different law on this, and it's confusing for consumers and it's confusing for companies -- and it's costly, too," Obama told the Federal Trade Commission, the US consumer protection agency.

Highlighting the countless transactions that people make online, Obama quipped that "Secret Service does not let me do that. But I know other people do."

"If we're going to be connected, then we need to be protected," he said, adding that the problem "costs us billions of dollars."

The new legislation would require companies to inform their clients within 30 days of a breach, and would include a consumer bill of rights to better help customers control how their data is shared.

Meanwhile, the proposed Student Digital Privacy Act would prevent sale of students' personal data to third parties for any purpose besides education.

Obama also highlighted a pledge made by 75 businesses that promised not to sell information for student-targeted advertising.

"I hope Congress joins us in this national movement to protect the privacy of our children," Obama said, calling the problem a bipartisan issue.

Obama delivered his speech Monday as a group declaring sympathy for Islamic State jihadists hacked US Central Command's YouTube and Twitter accounts in a propaganda jab at the US military.