Archive for February, 2012

Privacy Tips from the White House

February 24th, 2012

The White House, not waiting for Congress to agree on anything ‘official’, has released their plans for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

While it seems many privacy pundits are pushing for a ‘one button’ solution that would allow consumers to wholesale opt out of personal data tracking in ANY digital experience (be it website, app, browser, or device), I believe that strategy would end up crippling a lot of innovation and have devastating effects even on existing services. Would consumers really understand why Facebook stopped working after they pressed this ‘privacy’ button? Is ON or OFF the only choice we should give consumers when it comes to data use?

In any case, the rather eloquent digital privacy tenets set out by the White House seem much more reasonable and compassionate, and may even serve as apt guidelines as we construct our own designs. I expect ‘Respect for Context’ will become increasingly hard to manage the more connected and complex our platforms become…

  • Transparency:  Consumers have a right to easily understandable information about privacy and security practices.
  • Respect for Context:  Consumers have a right to expect that organizations will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
  • Security:  Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
  • Access and Accuracy:  Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data are inaccurate.
  • Focused Collection:  Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
  • Accountability:  Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.


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