Every day, it seems, we hear of another hack of credit cards or the theft of personal data from health records. It’s difficult to keep track of it all, much less protect passwords (are yours secure?), various accounts for home and work, personal information and so much more. Yet it’s not just hackers. Many legitimate companies collect and share personal data, and they do it without an individual’s consent. It seems like more and more companies are cavalier about the privacy of their customers.
Now Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced federal privacy legislation that aims to protect American consumers’ personal information by proposing a Privacy Bill of Rights. Senate Bill would establish a set of clear rules that specify how companies can use personal information and what they can and cannot do. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would have the authority to make and enforce rules.
Senator Markey’s press release clearly specifies what the Privacy Bill of Rights Act will do. The proposed policies would:
- Prohibit companies from using individuals’ personal information in discriminatory ways.
- Require companies to protect and secure the personal information that they hold.
- Establish a centralized FTC website that tells consumers about their privacy rights and requires companies to use easy to read short-form notices provided directly to consumers.
- Ensure companies collect only the information they need from consumers in order to provide the requested services.
- Enable State Attorneys General to protect the interest of their residents and bring action against companies that violate the privacy rights of individuals. Individuals will also have a private right of action empowering them to defend their own privacy rights.
Read the Senate bill that Senator Markey has proposed.
Personal information security is critical in today’s 21st Century world. The Privacy Bill of Right would be a good start.