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White House to Congress: Pass online privacy bill of rights

The Obama administration requests legislation that will safeguard consumer data online.

March 16, 2011|Bloomberg News

The Obama administration Wednesday asked Congress to pass legislation to protect online consumers' privacy.

"The administration urges Congress to enact a consumer privacy bill of rights to provide baseline consumer data privacy protections," Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information at the Commerce Department, said in written testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee.

Strickling said legislation should provide the Federal Trade Commission with the authority to enforce privacy protections. He did not specify the "baseline" protections but said the Obama administration was ready to work with Congress to define them.

In a December report on privacy issues, the FTC recommended a do-not-track option to allow consumers to opt out of having their Web browsing history monitored for marketing purposes and pressed advertisers to make their data practices more transparent.

Microsoft Corp. voluntarily added do-not-track features to its Internet Explorer 9 browser, which it released Tuesday.

Google Inc. this year released a tool that helps users of its Chrome Web browser keep advertisers from monitoring their Web-surfing habits.

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