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What Does Commerce Dept.’s Privacy Bill of Rights Proposal Mean for Cloud?

Gary Locke, Photo: commerce.gov

Saying the United States needs “robust” new guidelines for online privacy, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke laid out his department’s proposal for an online “Privacy Bill of Rights,” as well as a new federal office to administer it.

Improving trust between online consumers and companies seems to be a major piece of the plan.

“America needs a robust privacy framework that preserves consumer trust in the evolving Internet economy, while ensuring the web remains a platform for innovation, jobs and economic growth,” Locke explained.

Highlights of the proposal:

  • The Commerce report would create a clear set of guidelines for how online companies can collect and use personal information for commercial purposes.
  • Create a privacy policy office within the Commerce Department to work with federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Work to streamline privacy laws to reduce trade barriers.
  • Re-analyze the Electronic Communications Privacy Act for the cloud-computing age.

On the issue of cloud computing, Politico reports the agency originally did not take a look at the ECPA, the law that spells out how law enforcement can use data stored on government servers.

But, “a number of stakeholders called for more certainty with respect to the surveillance law,” Politico reports, so the agency is taking a second look and will continue to take comments.

The Commerce Deptartment plan follows recent moves by the FTC to set up a “Do Not Track” option for online browsing, which, Politico reports, has not been explicated endorsed by Commerce.

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