Sens. Kerry, McCain Promote Online Privacy Bill of Rights

Lora Bentley
Slide Show

Top 10 Privacy Issues for 2011

Social media and location-based technologies top the list of concerns.

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are putting aside their differences for the cause of online privacy. The Wall Street Journal reports the two are working to garner support for legislation that would create an online privacy bill of rights.


The bill would be the first comprehensive privacy law in the country, according to the WSJ. It would not only cross industries, but also cover a wide range of data-from "names and addresses to fingerprints and unique IDs assigned to individuals' cellphones or computers." It would require companies to ask permission before sharing a customer's or user's information with third parties. The bill would also give customers the ability to see all the information that any one company has collected on them.


Interestingly, though, the bill would also create a program for certifying companies with high privacy standards so that they would not have to ask customers' permission each time they wanted to share/sell information to a third party.


McCain and Kerry aren't the only legislators on the stump for online privacy. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) has introduced privacy legislation, and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) introduced do-not-track legislation last month.


Online privacy is also a high priority in the executive branch of government right now. The Obama administration is rumored to be in talks to fill two key privacy positions. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jules Polonetsky, who currently heads the Future of Privacy Forum, will soon run a new privacy office in the Commerce Department, and Commerce's Daniel Weitzner is slated to become the White House deputy chief technology officer. He will focus on privacy issues.

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