Thursday

8th Dec 2016

Focus

Obama launches online bill of rights

  • The Obama administration has published its own online bill of rights (Photo: The Israel Project)

US President Barack Obama on Thursday (23 February) unveiled a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights aimed at improving data privacy protection on the Internet.

The bill, which forms part of a White House report: 'Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World', would give users more control over how their personal information is obtained and used on the Internet.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The draft bill’s provisions include giving consumers the right to exercise control over the personal data organisations collect from them and how they use it. It will also offer the right to access and correct personal data and set out limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain, as well as creating a citizens’ right to secure handling of their personal data. Elsewhere, the bill includes a ‘respect for context’ clause, under which organisations would be required to use and collect data only in the context that it was provided.

In a statement accompanying the proposal, President Obama said: “American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online. As the Internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy.”

The proposal from the Obama administration, which comes just weeks after the European Commission put forward revisions to the EU’s Data Protection directive, is a clear sign that the US is moving away from the predominantly self-regulatory approach that it has traditionally taken.

It follows growing public outcry about the misuse of personal data by companies, with the US –regulator the Federal Trade Commission also attacking Google and Facebook in January for breaching data privacy commitments.

Following recent allegations over privacy breaches caused by smartphone and tablet computer applications, Apple, Google and Microsoft were among six technology giants that agreed on Wednesday (22 February) to provide greater privacy disclosures before users download them.

However, although the US Privacy Bill marks a step away from industry self-regulation, it appears to be less radical that the EU Commission’s draft directive, which hopes to establish a new European Data Protection Board to enforce the regime of its digital single market.

The provisions on consumer rights do not include the ‘right to be forgotten’, whereby users can demand that a company show what data it holds on them and also insist that it deletes all copies.

Moreover, with the US Presidential and Congressional elections coming in November, the bill is unlikely to become law during President Obama’s current term.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  3. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  5. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  6. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  7. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  8. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  9. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  10. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  11. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  12. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals