Silicon Valley representative Ro Khanna has been working with think tanks, big tech companies, and government IT pros to create a list of principles to protect the data privacy of Americans. He must have done it well, because the list has been endorsed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
“This bill of rights provides a set of principles that are about giving users more control of their online lives while creating a healthier internet economy,” Berners-Lee said.
Under the principles, Americans 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 have 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;
- 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 principles came to life when California Senator Nancy Pelosi asked Khanna to assemble them. Turning the principles into something with the power of law could be a hard political fight given the current Republican majority’s deregulatory mania, but with the midterm elections coming up, the playing field might look very different on November 7.
Sooner or later Big Tech will have to show that its support for data privacy regulation is more than lip service. “This is a 15-year fight, but I do not think tech is immediately primed against it and Congress is more willing to be strong on regulation,” Khanna told the New York Times‘s Kara Swisher.
Regardless, Khanna gets points for his efforts so far, and for his measured view of Silicon Valley: “Tech is amoral–it is great in many ways but not as great in others,” the congressman said, “and they need to now spend the next 10 years thinking about how they shape that tech for public good.”