Pres. Obama Announces Measures to Secure the U.S. Digital Economy

Identity theftAmid mounting losses in the billions of dollars from online hacking and identity theft, President Obama today announced new measures to secure the country?s digital economy while taking advantage of the new technologies and opportunities it offers.

Today?s announcement comes just three months after the president?s executive order establishing the BuySecure initiative to secure online transactions and sensitive data, as well as speed up development of stronger security technologies and next-generation payment security tools.

Speaking at the Federal Trade Commission, Washington?s point agency in protecting U.S. commerce, the President Obama proposed new legislation to create ?a single, strong national standard? to alert consumers when their information has been stolen or misused. The new standard eliminate the ?confusing…patchwork of laws?at state level that is costly for companies to comply with, and institute the requirement that companies notify consumers of a breach within 30 days.

It also will strengthen the government?s arm at home and overseas in pursuing criminals who steal and sell the identities of Americans.

The president also vowed to encourage more banks, credit card issuers and lenders to offer consumers free credit scores, saying free access to these score ?is like an early warning system telling you that you?ve been hit by fraud so you can deal with it fast.?

In a third move, the president said the administration by the end of February will introduce legislation establishing a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to protect personal privacy without discouraging industry innovating.?

?We believe that consumers have the right to decide what personal data companies collect from them and how companies use that data, that information; the right to know that your personal information collected for one purpose can?t then be misused by a company for a different purpose; the right to have your information stored securely by companies that are accountable for its use,? the president said.??We believe that there ought to be some basic baseline protections across industries.???
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The president also proposed legislation?the Student Digital Privacy Act?aimed at ensuring that data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes and not to market to children.

?We want to prevent companies from selling student data to third parties for purposes other than education.? We want to prevent any kind of profiling that outs certain students at a disadvantage as they go through school,? the president said.

Preempting congressional action, however, the president announced the Department of Education?s Student Privacy Pledge that allows companies to formally commit to neither sell student information nor use educational technologies to engage in targeted advertising to students.?To date, 75 companies have already signed the pledge, the president said.

?I want to encourage every company that provides [educational] technologies to our schools to join this effort.? It?s the right thing to do.? And if you don?t join this effort, then we intend to make sure that those schools and those parents know you haven?t joined this effort,? he warned.

The president urged support for his measures, hailing then as ?basic, common-sense [and] pragmatic.?

?Business leaders want their privacy and their children?s privacy protected, just like everybody else does.?Consumer and privacy advocates also want to make sure that America keeps leading the world in technology and innovation and apps,? he said.