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June 27, 2013

Reclaim Your Name Would Put Power of Data in Hands of Consumers

The recently-revealed scope of U.S. government surveillance reinforces the need for consumers to have control over their personal data, according to a well known privacy advocate.

U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill is pushing a program, dubbed Reclaim Your Name, that would arm consumers with the knowledge and technology they need to take the control of their personal data out of the hands of companies.

It is the American people themselves who should “decide how much to share, with whom and for what purpose,” Brill was quoted by the IDG News Service during the Computers, Freedom & Privacy Conference in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Large companies track purchases and surfing habits without consumers’ consent, Brill said, often compiling far more detailed data then most people realize.

“Many consumers have been loath to examine too closely the price we pay, in terms of forfeiting control of our personal data, for all the convenience, communication, and fun of a free-ranging and mostly free cyberspace,” she said. “With … knowledge comes power — the power to review, this time with eyes wide open, what privacy means — or should mean — in the age of the Internet.”

The Reclaim Your Name program would not only enable people to determine how companies are collecting and using the information, but give them access to the information as well as a way to opt out of collection for marketing purposes, Brill said.

Companies that participate in Reclaim Your Name, she said, would alter their data collection to comply with the program and would offer greater transparency to customers.


Image courtesy of [Danilo Rizzuti] /