White House Unveils ‘Privacy Bill of Rights’

February 23, 2012 Updated: February 23, 2012

The White House on Feb. 23 unveiled a “privacy bill of rights” and called on Internet companies to come up with better protections for consumers.

“This initiative seeks to protect all Americans from having their information misused by giving users new legal and technical tools to safeguard their privacy,” reads a statement from the White House.

The Obama administration stated Internet users should have rights to limit how their information is collected by companies including Facebook and Google.

“The blueprint will guide efforts to protect privacy and assure continued innovation in the Internet economy by providing flexible implementation mechanisms to ensure privacy rules keep up with ever-changing technologies,” the statement reads.

Privacy advocates will also be involved in developing the new rules, according to the White House.

John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director, said he suspected that companies would likely not be able to regulate themselves.

“The real question is how much influence companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook will have in their inevitable attempt to water down the rules that are implemented and render them essentially meaningless,” he told the New York Times.