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Online Privacy Act's No. 1 Principle Is 'Individual Control'

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Saying that "we must reject the conclusion that privacy is an outmoded value" and that it has been "at the heart of our democracy from its inception," President Obama this morning released his administration's "Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy" — a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights."

As NPR's Steve Henn explained on Morning Edition, "every big Web browser allows users to opt out of third-party tracking." But Google, he says, has been caught circumventing some of those built-in privacy protections. And there's concern about other sites' ability to track what we're doing online.

So, the White House is trying to bring the industry and consumer groups together and has issued a framework for what it hopes will be voluntary standards on privacy rights. Daniel Weitzner, the deputy chief technology officer at the White House, told reporters Wednesday that "principle No. 1 in our Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is the principle of individual control."

The privacy bill of rights' main points:

"Individual Control: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.

"Transparency: Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.

"Respect for Context: Consumers 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.

"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 is 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."

You can read the entire report here. We're also putting it in the box below. Just click on "Privacy Act" and it should pop up.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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