White House Proposes Online Privacy Bill of Rights

(También en Español)

News of Note: White House Proposes Online Privacy Bill of Rights

the Obama Administration released a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights for online users, including the ability for browser users to opt out of being tracked by advertisers and others.

The proposed document was described by the White House as “part of a comprehensive blueprint to improve consumers’ privacy protections,” while maintaining the Internet’s growth and innovation. The Administration said the intent is to give users “more control over how their personal information is used on the Internet,” and to help businesses grow while maintaining consumer trust.

In the wake of SOPA, PIPA and other bills, I’m immediately suspicious of an online “Bill of Rights.” The proposal focuses on data collection and online privacy. I am totally in support of increased privacy online but I’m totally against enacting new laws to enforce that privacy. This “Bill of Rights” does not protect us from the government, it protects us from commercial websites. Giving the government any more reasons to police the internet, even if under the guise of enforcing privacy, is not welcome or necessary. If you want to browse the internet privately you already can. People everywhere (and in countries like China) use Tor to anonymize their online activity and social networks like Diaspora address privacy concerns related to centralized social networks.

The US Government recently labeled anyone that cares about online privacy suspicious of terrorism. I have no reason to believe this new Bill of Rights is anything but a loss of freedom.

What purpose do you believe this internet Bill of Rights may serve? Would you rather have the government step in and police the Internet for you, or are comfortable protecting yourself with the tools already at your disposal?