NEWS20 December 2010

US and EU legislators call for transparency in online data collection

Europe Government North America

US— The Department of Commerce is calling for the creation of a Privacy Policy Office that would monitor commercial uses of personal information and identify gaps in privacy protection.

It also wants to see a Privacy Bill of Rights to prompt companies to be more transparent about their use of consumer information, why data is collected and how it is used.

The recommendations contained in the Commerce Department report are “a roap map for considering a new [privacy] framework that is good for consumers and business”, said commerce secretary Gary Locke (pictured).

He added: “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.”

Legislators in Europe are also pushing for rules that would require companies to be more transparent in how they collect and use consumer data for targeted online advertising, as well as calling for the creation of a labelling system to certify that sites confirm to data protection rules.

In a resolution adopted last week, members of the European Parliament agreed that “the personalisation of advertising messages must not lead to the development of intrusive advertising infringing legislation on the protection of personal data and privacy”.