The White House today released its long-awaited paper on online privacy, proposing a "consumer privacy bill of rights." Based on a report from the Department of Commerce, on which MRA filed comments in January 2011, the paper proposes a variety of expectations and demands of how companies should treat consumers online and outlines a process to achieve them, including stakeholder meetings to encourage and pressure private entities to enact "codes of conduct" in accordance with the White House's concerns.

In introducing the paper today, President Obama said: "I am pleased to present this new Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights as a blueprint for privacy in the information age. These rights give consumers clear guidance on what they should expect from those who handle their personal information, and set expectations for companies that use personal data. I call on these companies to begin immediately working with privacy advocates, consumer protection enforcement agencies, and others to implement these principles in enforceable codes of conduct. My Administration will work to advance these principles and work with Congress to put them into law. With this Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, we offer to the world a dynamic model of how to offer strong privacy protection and enable ongoing innovation in new information technologies."

MRA will have more extensive analysis and reaction in the days ahead.

The White House paper comes in the wake of new proposed data protection rules in the European Union. We are still waiting for a final privacy report as well from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) -- the agency with actual enforcement authority for data privacy in the United States.

(See a pdf of the full White House paper).