The White House released a report today containing its “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights,” referring to the new privacy framework as a “comprehensive blueprint to protect individual privacy rights and give users more control over how their information is handled.”  The report is entitled “Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy,” and it outlines a plan for implementing Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights that calls for the cooperation of industry, Congress, and international stakeholders. 

The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights identifies seven fundamental principles that apply to personal data, which is defined as “any data, including aggregations of data, that is linkable to a specific individual.”  Those principles are individual control, transparency, respect for context, security, access and accuracy, focused collection, and accountability.

The report asks companies to work with federal agencies such as the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission to develop enforceable codes of conduct that adhere to the new Bill of Rights.  If companies voluntarily agree to abide by such codes, the report suggested, violations of the codes could be construed as deceptive or unfair trade practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act.  Congress is called on to enact comprehensive privacy legislation that embodies the proposed principles.  The report also sets forth a plan for promoting interoperability, which includes developing a streamlined approach to regulating companies that transfer personal data across borders.

The report is the product of a comprehensive review of national privacy policy in an Internet economy.  The Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force began the review in 2010.