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6/23/2010
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Social Networking Bill Of Rights Released

Privacy advocates seek comments on a 14-point plan for protecting users' personal information online.

In the aftermath of much-publicized breaches by heavyweights Google, Facebook, and AT&T, among others, attendees of the annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy (CFP) conference spent last week creating a Users' Bill of Rights that is now available for public consumption, feedback, and approval.

The 14-point bill is available for comment on Facebook and Twitter. It was adopted unanimously, save for one dissent on data portability, during a vote at the twentieth annual event, held in San Jose, Calif.

Before presenting the 14 points, the elements were circulated for comments, drafted, and redrafted, said Jon Pincus, chief technology officer at Qworky and co-chair of CFP 2010.

The CFP's Bill of Rights includes:

1. Honesty: Honor your privacy policy and terms of service.

2. Clarity: Make sure that policies, terms of service, and settings are easy to find and understand.

3. Freedom of speech: Do not delete or modify my data without a clear policy and justification.

4. Empowerment: Support assistive technologies and universal accessibility.

5. Self-protection: Support privacy-enhancing technologies.

6. Data minimization: Minimize the information I am required to provide and share with others.

7. Control: Let me control my data, and don't facilitate sharing it unless I agree first.

8. Predictability: Obtain my prior consent before significantly changing who can see my data.
9. Data portability: Make it easy for me to obtain a copy of my data.

10. Protection: Treat my data as securely as your own confidential data unless I choose to share it, and notify me if it is compromised.

11. Right to know: Show me how you are using my data and allow me to see who and what has access to it.

12. Right to self-define: Let me create more than one identity and use pseudonyms. Do not link them without my permission.

13. Right to appeal: Allow me to appeal punitive actions.

14. Right to withdraw: Allow me to delete my account, and remove my data.

Facebook, which recently rebutted an open letter seeking further protection of users' personal information, said that although it wants to provide a safe and trusted environment for users, "we don't agree with all of the proposed elements of the Bill of Rights for social-network users."

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