It’s a first step in what will be a long and slow process, but this week the White House rolled out online privacy guidelines intended to help improve protections for consumers’ personal data.
As a recent New York Times story on the White House announcement points out, it is unlikely that Congress, with an election year underway, will soon use the guidelines to help forge actual laws governing the collection and use of personal data, and the use of tracking software, by the companies that make Web browsers, including Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Even without an election in the offing, after all, there would be a lot of industry lobbying and attempts to water down strictures before privacy rules became federal law.
So for the time being, the White House “blueprint” will attempt to address privacy issues as they emerge with the help of the Federal Trade Commission, which will monitor compliance with a voluntary code of conduct that will be developed by the Commerce Department and industry stakeholders.
“We’re pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the ‘do-not-track’ header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls,” Google’s senior vice president of advertising, Susan Wojcicki, said in a statement cited by Bloomberg.
Like we said, it’s a first step.