Two federal laws designed to create new federal rights to privacy are part of a sweeping new set of four broad digital-age consumer protections to be proposed by the administration, President Barack Obama announced Monday.
Speaking at the Federal Trade Commission, Obama announced four proposals designed to deal with a growing sense among Americans that they have “lost control of their personal information,” including a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and a Student Digital Privacy Act.
The announcement was intended as a preview of proposals the president will make during his upcoming State of the Union address.
The president also announced a growing number of financial institutions will offer consumers free access to their credit scores, including USAA and JPMorgan (you can see your credit scores for free on Credit.com as well). He’s also supporting a national data breach disclosure law. Currently, only a patchwork of state laws require firms that lose consumer data to notify victims.
“So much of the prosperity we seek…depends on the digital economy,”‘ Obama said, when announcing support for a slate of new consumer rights that he said would strike a balance between protecting privacy and promoting innovation. “These are basic, common sense pragmatic steps.”
The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights would allow consumers to decide what data companies collect and limit how the data is used, Obama said. It will be introduced by the end of this month, he said.
The Student Digital Privacy Act will be part of a larger effort to enhance protections for students as schools increasingly turn to technology to track their progress, a fast-growing industry called “Ed-Tech.” The legislation would ban profiling students, and also ban use of data for marketing purposes. In his talk, Obama praised recently passed legislation in California that includes strict bans on marketing and tight controls on sale of the data to third parties.
“We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel,“ he said.
The president also announced that his administration would not wait until passage of the legislation to push for student privacy. The Department of Education is launching a set of tools to help schools deal with the privacy implications of the software and hardware they use. It is also eliciting voluntary privacy pledges from Ed-Tech firms, and plans to publicize the identity of firms that refuse to take that pledge, Obama said.
The president added that privacy advocates and tech firms should be able to find common ground in these proposals.
“Rather than be at odds, I think much of this work reinforces each other,” he said. The more we protect privacy, “the harder it is for hackers to hurt the economy.”
More on Identity Theft:
- How Can You Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?
- What Should I Do If I’m a Victim of Identity Theft?
- How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life