Protect rights on the Internet

The White House recently proposed a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

Last week, the White House unveiled a proposal for a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” that would set out principles used to regulate online tracking. This proposal, while still far from being a polished, final bill is a step in the right direction for protecting people’s right to privacy on the Internet.

The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights’ provisions generally flow from the principle that consumers have the right to understand and control what of their information is being collected and how that information is used. These are crucial protections in an age where companies like Google and Facebook have the ability to gather mountains of information from customers with little to no accountability. Both companies have faced criticism and legal consequences for how they’ve collected and used customers’ information.

It is always encouraging when our government acts in the interest of the average citizen rather than the interest of large corporations. Although civil liberties have taken a back seat to “national security” in the Obama administration, it is some consolation that the administration is standing up for privacy rights in other spheres. We hope that this step is the first on the road to recognizing and defending the privacy rights and civil liberties of Americans in all areas. A concrete, well defined explanation of citizens’ rights like the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights gives a measuring stick against which government policies can be held.

As the president works with Congress on creating a final bill, it is crucial that the process and final legislation not be corrupted by industry as it was in the case of the Stop Online Piracy and PROTECT IP acts. The American people need to have their rights protected online, and this is a move in the right direction.