By Jose Pagliery
January 12 2015
In a State of the Union preview, President Obama on Monday demanded quicker confessions from companies that lose your data as well as better privacy for students.
One proposed law would give a company 30 days to let you know if your personal information--such as your address or Social Security number--has been exposed by hackers or careless employees.
The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act is an attempt at a nationwide, uniform rule. Right now, there are 47 different state laws that govern data breaches. Depending on the situation, people in some states get notified, while others are left in the dark. It's a mess.
Data breaches are increasingly common. Last year, hackers broke in to Home Depot, Albertson's and so many others that CNN developed it's own tool: What hackers know about you.
The president's other proposed law, the Student Digital Privacy Act, is meant to stop the sale of sensitive student data for non-education purposes. Now that students routinely use laptops, tablets, and computer programs at school, lots of that data is being collected--and sometimes sold to advertisers and financial companies.
The fear? That information might be used by money lenders to prey on students--or by colleges or future employers to judge students unfairly.
"Parents have a legitimate concern about these kinds of practices," Obama said at a midday speech Monday before the Federal Trade Commission. "Our children are growing up in cyberspace."
The president also endorsed the "student privacy pledge", already signed by 75 firms including Apple and Microsoft. It's a promise by companies to only use student data collected at school for education purposes, not observe behavior to target advertisements and not keep data for long.
Obama said any companies that provide school services and don't sign the pledge will be singled out and censured.
The president also called for a "consumer privacy bill of rights" that gives consumers the ability to decide what personal data is collected and how it's used. He tried this in 2012, but the idea failed to take off.
"This should not be a partisan issue. It's one of those new challenges our modern society and crosses our old divides," he said. "We pioneered the Internet, but we also pioneered the Bill of Rights and the sense that each of us as individuals have a sphere of privacy around us that should not be breached."