Life on the internet isn’t as simple as it could be – companies are increasingly looking to monetise our personal data. This has led one MP to propose an Internet Bill of Rights to protect our civil liberties online.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s been left up to campaigning organisations like Privacy International, Big Brother Watch and Which? to protect our online privacy. But that’s not quite the case.
Conservative MP for Harlow, Robert Halfon, has been banging the drum on this issue for a while now. In fact, he’s been calling for the introduction of an Internet Bill of Rights – new legislation aimed at putting the rights of consumers like you and me above the interests of commercial businesses.
Halfon believes that a new legal framework needs to be established to give consumers more power to deal with internet giants. Existing regulation via the Information Commissioner’s Office, he argues, is insufficient to deal with the gradual infringement of our civil liberties online.
Advertising firms in the firing line
He’s got his sights firmly focused on the WPP Group, a British advertising and marketing firm which claims to have individual profiles of half a billion internet users from across the world, including allegedly almost 100 per cent of the UK population.
Although WPP claims all of this information is anonymous, Halfon thinks our privacy is being gradually eroded by companies tracking our every move online and selling on this personal data for commercial gain.
Halfon has managed to gather support from 13 MPs – not a huge number out of the 600 or so that take up space in Parliament, but it’s a start.
Anyway, what do you think? Is Robert right? Is new legislation, like an Internet Bill of Rights, the right way to protect consumers online, or should we just stick with what we’ve got, amending it as and when needed?