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California rep unveils ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ proposal

Rep. Ro Khanna has crafted a list of ten principles for protecting consumers’ digital rights

Photo (c) NicoElNino - Getty Images
Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) recently outlined a set of 10 principles that he hopes will one day evolve from its current draft phase to become an actual “Internet Bill of Rights.”

Each of the principles on the list would be enacted with the goal of protecting consumers’ data in the digital age.

"There's great concern that Americans have about the protection of their privacy online and about their security online," Khanna told the Los Angeles Times.

The principles cover a range of topics that have been subjects of criticism and controversy among both consumers and lawmakers -- from net neutrality, to timely notification of hacks or breaches, to the ability to opt-in for data collection.

Ten principles

The complete draft, first obtained by The New York Times, states that American consumers should have the right:

  • to have access to and knowledge of all collection and uses of personal data by companies;

  • to opt-in consent to the collection of personal data by any party and to the sharing of personal data with a third party;

  • where context appropriate and with a fair process, to obtain, correct, or delete personal data controlled by any company and to have those requests honored by third parties;

  • to have personal data secured and to be notified in a timely manner when a security breach or unauthorized access of personal data is discovered;

  • to move all personal data from one network to the next;

  • to access and use the internet without internet service providers blocking, throttling, engaging in paid prioritization or otherwise unfairly favoring content, applications, services or devices;

  • to internet service without the collection of data that is unnecessary for providing the requested service absent opt-in consent;

  • to have access to multiple viable, affordable internet platforms, services, and providers with clear and transparent pricing;

  • to not to be unfairly discriminated against or exploited based on your personal data; and

  • to have an entity that collects your personal data have reasonable business practices and accountability to protect your privacy.

The unveiling of the principles follows a series of privacy scandals, including the massive Equifax data breach disclosed last year and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal that came to light earlier this year.

But despite these breaches of privacy, efforts to pass data protection laws have not progressed far enough to benefit consumers. Just this month, the entire broadband industry sued the state of California over its newly enacted net neutrality protections.

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