Thursday, June 24, 2010

Privacy Advocates Release Social Networking Bill of Rights

Here's some proactive privacy protection news I can get behind. At last week's annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy (CFP) conference a 14 point Users' Bill of Rights was agreed upon by privacy advocates and is now available for public consumption, feedback, and approval.

I probably don't need to provide the context for these 14 points, but just in case you've been living under a rock these past few months, you know that there's been a series of high profile confronations with company's like Google and Facebook over a growing number of privacy breaches, some clearly intentional, others claimed as accidental.

One thing nearly everybody that cares about privacy can agree on is that we're in desperate need of some "rules of the road" when it comes to privacy on the net. And that's why this is good news.

I'll get to this in greater detail in future posts, but for today's purposes, here's the CFP's 14 "Rights":

1. Honesty: Honor your privacy policy and terms of service.

2. Clarity: Make sure that policies, terms of service, and settings are easy to find and understand.

3. Freedom of speech: Do not delete or modify my data without a clear policy and justification.

4. Empowerment: Support assistive technologies and universal accessibility.

5. Self-protection: Support privacy-enhancing technologies.

6. Data minimization: Minimize the information I am required to provide and share with others.

7. Control: Let me control my data, and don't facilitate sharing it unless I agree first.

8. Predictability: Obtain my prior consent before significantly changing who can see my data.

9. Data portability: Make it easy for me to obtain a copy of my data.

10. Protection: Treat my data as securely as your own confidential data unless I choose to share it, and notify me if it is compromised.

11. Right to know: Show me how you are using my data and allow me to see who and what has access to it.

12. Right to self-define: Let me create more than one identity and use pseudonyms. Do not link them without my permission.

13. Right to appeal: Allow me to appeal punitive actions.

14. Right to withdraw: Allow me to delete my account, and remove my data.

As reported on Information Week, "Facebook, which recently rebutted an open letter seeking further protection of users' personal information, said that although it wants to provide a safe and trusted environment for users, "we don't agree with all of the proposed elements of the Bill of Rights for social-network users."


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