Consumer Privacy Groups Urge Obama To Propose Strong Privacy Law

SANTA MONICA, CA — Consumer Watchdog has joined with six other consumer privacy organizations in calling for President Obama to propose strong privacy legislation in the groups’ comments on the White House report on “big data.”

“Enacting baseline privacy legislation that implements a strong and resonant Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights (CPBR) is the single most effective way to answer the public’s call for basic online privacy rights, ensure trust in the online marketplace, and create a level playing field for online businesses,” the groups wrote in their filing.

There are six key recommendations that a privacy law should include that would strengthen the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, the groups said.  They are:  Make it consequential; Fill in the blanks of the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPS); Recognize the real harms and significant risks; Carve out special protections for sensitive categories; and Implement practical solutions.

Read the groups’ joint letter to the the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration here:  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ntia_big_data_comments_final.pdf

The groups said that as the White House looks to its legacy, implementing a strong and comprehensive Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights “would be an iconic moment in American consumer protection.”

“The privacy bill should be a benchmark for modern consumer protection that respects Americans’ deep history of personal privacy in a technology context,” the groups said. “We believe that it’s preferable for the Administration to propose nothing, rather than a weak bill that does little to advance privacy protections.”

The letter concluded: “The proposal and enactment of strong consumer privacy legislation in the context of the CPBR is essential toward achieving the complimentary goals of protecting the privacy rights of consumers, maintaining consumer trust online and supporting business innovation.”

In addition to Consumer Watchdog the following organizations joined in the comments: American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Common Sense Media and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

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Visit Consumer Watchdog’s website at www.consumerwatchdog.org

Published by John M. Simpson

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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