- Ten point Bill of Rights would protect consumers’ rights to privacy
- Similar rights are afforded by EU’s GDPR and similar legislation around the world
- The proposal follows Brave Software CEO Brendan Eich’s message to the US Senate earlier this week.
Brave Software co-founder Brendan Eich made ripples earlier this week when he wrote to the US Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, urging for the implementation of something similar to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). On Thursday Rep. Ro Khanna (D) proposed an “Internet Bill of Rights” – legislation that would address many of the points Eich raised in his letter.
US Falling Behind on Right to Privacy
Historically, the US used to be a champion of the individuals’ rights to privacy not being trampled by corporations. The OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data from 1980 reflect this stance.
Since then, however, the US has been slowly losing ground on privacy issues. With the passing of GDPR in the EU and similar legislation across the world, US companies are often more inconvenienced by foreign protections of users’ rights than by domestic laws.
With the newly proposed ‘Internet Bill of Rights’, however, the US could reclaim much of its former regard for the rights of the individual.
Democrat Pushing Strong Protections
It is not terribly surprising perhaps that the proposed ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ originates with a congressman representing part of Silicon Valley, the capital of the US tech industry. Although Silicon Valley is a very wealthy area and economically quite right wing, on social issues it is one of the most progressive parts of the US, even for California.
Khanna’s list of proposed rights also received high praise from World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee:
“This bill of rights provides a set of principles that are about giving users more control of their online lives while creating a healthier internet economy.”
The ten point list of rights would secure for users the right to always be able to access and have knowledge of what information companies are gathering about them – information which is crucial for targeted marketing.
It would also make opt-in consent the default – making it easier for users to avoid accidentally signing away their rights to privacy.
When security does get breached and personal data leaked, users would have the right to be notified of this in a timely manner – unlike with the infamous 2017 Equifax leak, for example.
The bill would enshrine into law Net Neutrality – banning selective throttling, blocking and paid prioritization by ISPs.
And lastly, it would require ISPs to use clear and transparent pricing, as well as encourage competition and variety of choice for consumers.