MTE Explains: What Is the US Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights?

As early as January 2015, there has been talk within the United States government of introducing a new set of laws with the intention of protecting the privacy of individuals on the Internet (for the most part). If they pass, this will be the first time in US history that people will have a set of clearly-defined “rights” in the digital world. The implications of this project has led to several people criticizing the proposal, but why? We intend to explain everything you need to know about this proposal and how it is similar to what other countries are doing.

According to the White House’s proposal, this legal project is somewhat similar to that of the European Union’s “right to be forgotten”, although the bill significantly expands upon this idea. The bill requires companies to use “easily understandable language” when providing details on their privacy and security practices. Despite its inclination to regulate what the private sector does with customer data, the draft is not very clear on whether government will also have to comply with its own rules.


The bill has received a significant amount of criticism from advocacy groups saying that the bill has plenty of loopholes that would put the needs of industry in front of the needs of consumers. The proposal allow industries to make their own standards for privacy, making it difficult for uniformity to exist. Startups (companies that are still in a growing stage) are allowed to forego any consequences as a result of this bill for a year and a half, giving them ample amounts of time to comply.

Data collection is a common practice with companies that have advertisers. This is how they cater advertisements that are relevant to the desires of consumers as well as understand the demographics that access their web presences on a daily basis. It is not uncommon for website owners, for example, to use certain analytics software to get a feel for what kinds of people visit their sites so that they may cater the content to their needs. The infringement on privacy here is not as harmful as what we see in state authorities that peer into the traffic of individuals.

Nonetheless, it is important for companies with online presences to be transparent about what kinds of data they are collecting from their users. This is mainly what the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is about. That it allows companies a certain amount of flexibility within the platform is to be expected.


There are many tools that consumers can use to protect their own information, such as disabling JavaScript and the creation of cookies in their browsers. If you do this yourself, however, you may notice that some (in fact, most) sites may not function correctly at all. This is how dependent we are on data collection, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We just need to have a sincere discussion on privacy, and consumers need to be educated to a certain degree on what constitutes “best practices” while cruising on the Internet.

For both of these things to happen, we must first understand where fear is being misplaced and where it really belongs. What are your thoughts about this? Let us know in a comment!