White House Privacy Bill Fails To Give Adequate Protection, Consumer Watchdog Says

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SANTA MONICA, CA – The proposed Privacy Bill of Rights Act released by the White

House today fails to adequately protect consumer privacy and allows industry to dominate making the rules that would govern corporate behavior, Consumer Watchdog said.

“The bill envisions a process where industry will dominate in developing codes of conduct,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director.  “The bill is full of loopholes and gives consumers no meaningful control of their data.”

Three years ago President Obama unveiled his Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.  The draft legislation released Friday is supposed to implement those excellent privacy principles. Consumer Watchdog said the Administration should actively engage with consumer groups and improve the bill’s protections so that the principles outlined Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights are actually met.

Read the draft Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act here:

The bill relies heavily on a “multi-stakeholder” process to develop codes of conduct that would give companies that adopt those codes a “safe harbor” from enforcement.  The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has run two such efforts, one for a code about transparency for mobile apps and a second developing a code covering facial recognition.

“It’s a failed process that hasn’t worked,” said Simpson, “but the proposed legislation relies on it and would give the NTIA enhanced special status.”

Consumer Watchdog said the FTC should be given full rulemaking and full enforcement authority to protect consumers’ privacy.

Another problem with the proposed legislation is that it would pre-empt stronger state laws. Any pre-emption should set a floor, not a ceiling, allowing states to have stronger protections, Consumer Watchdog said.

“Nothing good for privacy in Washington ever gets released late on a Friday afternoon,” said Simpson.


John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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