Online bill of rights steps in the right direction but not enough according to Anonymizer

The recent release of the Obama Administration’s Online privacy “Bill of Rights” and Do Not Track is heading in the right but experts worry it’s not going to be enough to protect consumers. Though it’s very early in the process, the main issues seem to come down to enforcement. While Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and other behemoth advertising players launched AdChoices in an offensive move to demonstrate that the community of commerce can be self-regulated. Problem is this isn’t quite covering the ensuing mobile and social implications.

The Obama administration laid out a set of principles covering the basics of privacy and it does a very good job in covering off on control, transparency, context, security, access and accuracy, limited liability and accountability. Where we believe it falls short is the the definition of personal data and whether the definition truly protects consumers’ privacy and how the framework can be enforced.

As it stands now, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) will review practices of companies who voluntarily agree to the terms, though the White House stresses that they expect Congress pass official legislation protecting the public’s online privacy and personal data. We may be months away from seeing real-world implications of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

Our readers straddle both the advertising and consumer lines, so it’s good to see that there’s a discussion around consumer privacy. Lets make sure it continues. Lets hope we all think through implications holistically and ensure there’s enforcement. With social taking off and creating a whole new universe, the implications are greater than ever.

For those who haven’t reviewed the bill of rights, CNN Money has posted it, Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

In the meantime, Anonymizer, Inc. wants consumers to take online privacy matters into their own hands by employing a comprehensive Internet security strategy.

The recently announced consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and the browser-based Do Not Track button are designed to protect the online privacy of consumers and to set expectations for how companies should handle personal data. Anonymizer, Inc., www.anonymizer.com claims that while these initiatives will prevent some Web tracking, they will not stop all tracking. And, they still do not necessarily prevent advertisers from collecting and selling user data.

“We’re encouraged to see the consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and Do Not Track technology, but they are still not a 100% guarantee that consumers and their personal data will be protected,” said Lance Cottrell, Founder and Chief Technology Officer for Anonymizer, Inc. “While these initiatives are steps in the right direction, they should not be relied on exclusively. Consumers must take an active role in protecting their online privacy.”

In addition to opting out of tracking, consumers should adjust their browser privacy settings, block cookies, clear old cookies, and adopt a broad Internet security strategy that includes an online privacy product that prevents activities from being tracked based on their IP address. Products like Anonymizer Universal, www.anonymizer.com/homeuser/universal, help prevent unauthorized access to personal data on Wi-Fi hotspots and keep users anonymous online while at home, at work and on the go.

For more on Anonymizer, Inc.’s views on the Privacy Bill of Rights and Do Not Track initiatives, please visit:

About Anonymizer, Inc.
As the global leader in online privacy, anonymity, and identity protection solutions, Anonymizer continues to push the envelope with products that allow consumers and organizations to remain safe, secure, and anonymous each time they go online. The company’s proprietary technologies address the needs of home users and businesses. With a pristine 15-year history of protecting customer online identities, Anonymizer’s products have set the standard in Internet privacy, and protected billions of web searches and personal communications.

Sources:

Anonymizer
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