Washington – The Commerce Department has released a report
that recommends the U.S. create a "privacy bill of rights," which
would, among other things, govern how Internet companies can collect data on consumers to target
advertising. "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," Commerce Secretary
Gary Locke said in a statement.
Under voluntary guidelines, companies would
have to disclose what data they are tracking on consumers, and exactly how it
is being used — and allow consumers to opt-out of being tracked, as well as correct
errors in the profiles created for them.
The Commerce Dept. recommends the creation
of a federal privacy office under its auspices, as well as the passage of new
legislation that would empower the FTC to take action against firms that
violate the voluntary codes of conduct.
The report comes after
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommended the creation of a "Do Not
Track" tool that would let users block tracking of their Web surfing for
the purposes of targeting advertising.