Thursday, February 23, 2012

Track Me Not!

A recent article reports that several internet companies has agreed to support a “do-not-track” button to be embedded on most Web browsers and such move is part of the White House’s call for Congress to pass a “privacy bill of rights” which will give people greater control over personal data gathered about them via the internet.

Recently, several internet companies such as Facebook, Inc. and Google Inc. have been involved in privacy issues.

However, the new do-not-track button isn't going to stop all Web tracking. It wouldn’t prevent companies such as Facebook from tracking users via the “Like” button and other functions (app usage, perhaps?). The button prevents data pertaining to internet user’s web browsing habits from being tracked and used by online advertising companies in customizing ads (probably why ads appearing on my Facebook homepage pertain mostly to schools offering law degrees), employment, credit, health-care or insurance purposes. However, the data can still be used for some purposes such as "market research" and "product development" and can still be obtained by law enforcement officers.

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Privacy Bill of Rights
Here are the seven rights that the White House is calling for:

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.

Agnes M. Santiago, Entry No. 10

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