Revisiting a crowdsourced Digital Bill of Rights “by the people, for the people” from SXSW 2012

The following Digital Bill of Rights was crowdsourced at SXSW in Austin, TX on March 11, 2012 at a session I led with Anne Bezancon (then CEO of Placecast, now part of Ericsson) called “We the People: Creating a Consumer’s Bill of Rights.” It seems like a timely reminder that many of the current issues we are struggling with in terms of privacy, transparency and control of data are far from new, and that the issues they touch in our lives are as fundamental and transcendent as those covered in the original Bill of Rights.

The packed session at SXSW included participants ranging from privacy experts to advertising and internet executives. Despite the different viewpoints, we concluded that we could not rely on companies or governments to determine these right for us any more than the Founding Fathers relied on King George or the British East India Company to do so on their behalf. The attempt to make them go viral online fell short…at least to date.

The group also believed the rights to be so interconnected that they needed to be considered together – each reinforcing and providing context for the other. The rights do not cover each and every right or code of conduct that we believed should exist, but were designed to be a minimum set of rights that would create a the basis for a safer, fairer and more innovative digital world. 

Finally, like all rights, we anticipated that there would be occasions and contexts where such rights might be limited or waived. But we asked ourselves in selecting each of them if we wanted a world where such rights did not exist and were not the default: Where there was no right to transparency, no right to privacy, no right to choice and control, etc.? Our answer was unequivocally no.

Digital Bill of Rights

March 11, 2012 – Austin, TX

Preamble

This Digital Bill of Rights applies to the sanctity of the digital self 

The digital self should be afforded equal standing as the physical self before the law and society

Rights

1. Right to transparency

  • I have the right to know who collects, uses, shares, or monetizes my data and how they do so
  • I have the right to know how my data is protected and secured
  • I have the right to know the value of my data

2. Right to privacy

  • I have the right to privacy by default

3. Right to choice and control

  • I have the right to give and withdraw permission to collect, use, share or monetize my data
  • I have the right to view, access, correct, edit, verify, export and delete my data
  • I have the right to own and/or use freely the “golden copy” of my data
  • I have the right to buy the product or app and not “be the product”

4. Right to safety

  • I have the right to expect my data to be stored and transported securely

5. Right to identity

  • I have the right to have different personas in context
  • I have the right to anonymity

6. Right to minimal use

  • I have the right to have my data collected, used, shared or monetized only for the specified purpose and context
  • I have the right to be forgotten after my data has served its purpose

Author: Shane Green

Empowering people with their data. CEO (US) digi.me. Co-founder & CEO of Personal (merged with digi.me) and TeamData. Previously co-founder & CEO of The Map Network (acquired by Nokia/NAVTEQ), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. rshanegreen.com and @shanegreen

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