Obama Must Propose Legislation If He Cares About Privacy, Consumer Watchdog Says
WASHINGTON, DC – A yearlong effort convened by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) demonstrates the futility of crafting codes of conduct through a voluntary multi-stakeholder process and the way participants were asked their opinion of the proposed code makes a mockery of the effort, Consumer Watchdog said today.
Consumer Watchdog urged the Commerce Department to propose its own privacy legislation and push Congress to pass it. “Calls for action in policy papers are easy. The test of commitment is to translate high-minded principles like the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights into real legislative language,” the group wrote. It urged the Commerce Department to propose the legislation before moving forward with negotiations with Web companies.
The FTC report is being celebrated by groups like nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, whose director John Simpson said in a statement: “The FTC’s support of Do Not Track means that consumers should have a meaningful way to control the tracking of their online activities by the end of the year.”
“Data brokers buy, compile and sell a wealth of highly personal information about you, but there’s no way to find out what they have or if it’s correct,” John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project, said in a statement. “That’s why the FTC’s call for legislation in this area is so important.”
“An important consensus is emerging on the need to take significant steps to protect online privacy rights,” says John Simpson, spokesman for the non-profit Consumer Watchdog advocacy group.
“The real question is how much influence companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook will have in their inevitable attempt to water down the rules that are implemented and render them essentially meaningless. I am skeptical about the ‘multi-stakeholder process’, but am willing to make a good faith effort to try,” John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog said in a statement.
Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit research and advocacy group in California, said the approach will work only if influential companies don’t water down the rules to render them meaningless. “I am skeptical about the ’multi-stakeholder process,’ but am willing to make a good-faith effort to try,” said John M. Simpson, the group’s privacy project director. He’s referring to the various parties with competing interests tasked with making the rules.
A coalition of 11 consumer advocacy agencies and civil liberty and privacy organizations has responded by releasing a set of principles for the multi-stakeholder process. This “would ensure a fair process,” John Simpson, consumer advocate at coalition member Consumer Watchdog, told TechNewsWorld.
“The only problem with this, is that the W3C has yet to agree what ‘Do Not Track’ technical standards and compliance obligations will be,” John Simpson, director of the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog said in a statement. “If the W3C standards are stricter than industry wants, I can’t believe they will follow them. I hope not, but this may actually be an effort to undermine the W3C process.”
“The real question is how much influence companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook will have in their inevitable attempt to water down the rules that are implemented and render them essentially meaningless,” says John Simpson, spokesman for Consumer Watchdog. ” I am skeptical about the ‘multi-stakeholder process’, but am willing to make a good faith effort to try it.
“The real question is how much influence companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook will have in their inevitable attempt to water down the rules that are implemented and render them essentially meaningless,” John M. Simpson, privacy project director for Consumer Watchdog, said in response to the administration’s plan. “A concern is that the administration’s privacy effort is being run out of the Commerce Department.”
SANTA MONICA, CA – The Obama Administration’s blueprint to protect online privacy with a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” unveiled today could provide meaningful protections, Consumer Watchdog said, but warned that the test of its effectiveness will come as the implementation unfolds. The nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group also voiced a concern that an announced Internet industry commitment to honor “Do Not Track” could be aimed at undercutting an effort by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create a strict Do Not Track standard.
Privacy group Consumer Watchdog praised the White House privacy announcement, although the group had not seen the proposals as of Wednesday evening. “From what I understand to be in it, the report may represent real progress,” said John Simpson, privacy project director for the group. “Enforceable codes of conduct could matter. Baseline privacy legislation could make a difference.”