Obama calls for US data breach notification law, privacy bill of rights

The White House will push Congress to pass new laws addressing data privacy and ID theft, the president says

U.S. President Barack Obama announces new data privacy initiatives during a speech at the Federal Trade Commission.

U.S. President Barack Obama announces new data privacy initiatives during a speech at the Federal Trade Commission.

U.S. President Barack Obama will push Congress to pass a law requiring companies that are victims of data breaches to notify affected consumers within 30 days and a second law that gives consumers more control over their digital data, he said.

Obama will call for a national data breach notification law and a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in ID theft and privacy initiatives in his State of the Union speech Jan. 20, he said Monday at the Federal Trade Commission.

Neither of those proposals is a new one -- the White House first called for a consumer privacy bill of rights in February 2012 and has backed a national breach notification law for years -- but Congress has failed to pass those proposals. With a growing number of data breaches coming to light, it's important for Congress to protect Internet users from a "direct threat" by hackers, Obama said.

"If we're going to be connected, then we need to be protected," Obama said. "As Americans, we shouldn't have to forfeit our basic privacy when we go online to do business."

More than 45 states have their own data breach notification laws, but there's no national standard. A lack of a national standard confuses consumers and raises compliance costs for companies, Obama said. "Sometimes folks don't even find out their credit card information has been stolen until they see charges on their bill, and then it's too late," he said.

The privacy bill of rights would allow consumers to decide what pieces of their personal data are collected by companies and decide how the data is used. The legislation would allow consumers to prohibit companies that collect their data for one purpose to use it for another purpose, Obama said.

Obama will also push Congress to pass a student digital privacy bill that would limit companies that collect data as part of educational services to use it only for educational purposes. The proposal would prohibit companies from selling student data to third parties for non-educational purposes and from using data collected in an educational setting to deliver targeted advertising.

Educational technology is delivering great benefits, but some companies have explored other ways to use the collected data, Obama said. "We want our kids' privacy protected, wherever they sign on or log on, including at school," he added. "We're saying that data collected from students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes to teach our children, not to market to our children."

Obama noted that 75 educational tech companies have signed a pledge to protect parents, teachers and students from the misuse of personal data. Obama called on other educational tech companies to sign the pledge.

"If you don't joint this effort, we intend to make sure those schools and those parents know you haven't joined this effort," he said.

The push to provide consumer and student privacy protections shouldn't be a partisan issue in Washington, D.C., Obama said. The issue "transcends politics and transcends ideology," he said. "Everybody's online, and everybody understands the risks and vulnerabilities, as well as opportunities that are presented by this new world. Business leaders want their privacy and their children's privacy protected just like everybody else does."

Obama is scheduled to announce additional cybersecurity proposals on Tuesday and a broadband expansion plan on Wednesday.

Several groups applauded Obama's ID theft and privacy efforts, including the National Retail Federation, which praised his call for a national data breach notification law. Obama's proposals will "protect consumers while providing much-needed focus on concrete steps that can be taken now in order to protect consumers and businesses alike from cybercriminals," the trade group said in a statement.

But Obama's proposals related to a privacy bill of rights and student privacy may limit legitimate uses of collected data, said Daniel Castro, a senior analyst with tech-focused think tank, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

The privacy bill of rights "would limit opportunities to use data-driven innovation across a variety of fields," Castro said in a statement.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Information Technology and Innovation FoundationU.S. Federal Trade CommissionNational Retail Federationonline safetyU.S. White HouseregulationU.S. CongressgovernmentBarack ObamaprivacyDaniel Castrosecurity

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?