President Obama will be unveiling the new Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights today in response to consumer tracking from mobile devices and on-line search tracking. The administration has been working on the bill of rights for online privacy for two years with industry leaders, privacy advocates, academics and enforcement agencies. On line tracking from Google and Facebook, among others, in order to generate sales leads, has felt like an invasion of privacy to a lot of consumers and this targeted advertising has become very obvious to users.
Over the last several months, Google has been notifying users of the updated privacy policies. Lawmakers and other consumer advocates have been filing complaints with the Federal Trade Commission over Google’s plan to consolidate their privacy policies and combine data on users from across all of it services and products.
Mobile data tracking is of particular concern given how rapidly Web surfers are purchasing smartphones and storing so much personal information on them. In 2011, lawmakers questioned Google and Apple over location based tracking capabilities in mobile devices and serious discussions were held late last year over Carrier IQ software found on mobile phones that critics said could be used to track consumers without their consent.
However, the laws are catching up with technology as the California Attorney General’s office has just announced that Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, HP and Research In Motion now require mobile app developers to include privacy policies in their apps. Apple has even just announced that iOS apps that collect user contacts without permission are violating the guidelines.
The administration has scheduled a news conference at noon ET and details are included in a report the government is issuing.
Some of the new policies include more individual control. Consumers will have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how the companies will use it. Another change will be improved transparency so that consumers have a right to easily understand and access information about privacy and security practices. Companies will need to provide clear descriptions of what personal data they are collecting, why they need the data, how they will use it and whether and for what purposes they may share personal data with third parties. Consumers will also have a right to expect that companies will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
There are more measures the administration will be issuing for improved consumer privacy as well. As Android training is more versed, a technical course for developers becomes more important all the time. For more information on this story, go to The Huffington Post.