Obama announces plans for US federal privacy law

Speaking at the US Federal Trade Commission on 12 January, President Barack Obama announced his plans for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

The Obama administration issued a white paper on consumer privacy in February 2012 and the Commerce Department has now completed and analysed public consultations, and will release a proposal for a federal consumer privacy Bill within 45 days.

Obama said: “Working with many of you - from the private sector and advocacy groups - we’ve identified some basic principles to both protect personal privacy and ensure that industry can keep innovating. For example, we believe that consumers have the right to decide what personal data companies collect from them and how companies use that data, that information; the right to know that your personal information collected for one purpose can’t then be misused by a company for a different purpose; the right to have your information stored securely by companies that are accountable for its use. We believe that there ought to be some basic baseline protections across industries. So we're going to be introducing this legislation by the end of next month, and I hope Congress joins us to make the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights the law of the land.”

In this preview into his State of the Union address, to be delivered on 20 January, Obama also proposed other cybersecurity and privacy measures: a Personal Data Notification & Protection Act, a Student Digital Privacy Act, and a voluntary code for smart grid privacy.

President Obama’s speech

White House fact sheet