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White House Cyber & Consumer Protection Summit

Last Friday I had the privilege to attend the White House Cybersecurity & Consumer Protection Summit, hosted at Stanford University.  Attendees included CEO's of leading organizations ranging from American Express, AIG, Intel, Bank of America, MasterCard, to Kaiser Permante, PayPal, QVC, Walgreens and the Center of Democracy & Technology.  Key messages delivered through the day included the importance of government – private sector collaboration, the sharing of threat data with the government and government sharing the data back to the business community. Other points made were that privacy and security are on the same side of the coin and need to be everyone’s job. There was broad agreement that there is no perfect security, but equally as important, there is no excuse for negligence.

While the President made a renewed effort for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and Federal Data Breach Legislation, for many the highlight of the Summit was Apple’s CEO Tim Cook keynote. Cook told the high powered audience - “If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right of privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money - we risk our way of life.” Making a direct statement to the advertising industry, Cook stated “sacrificing the right of privacy can have dire consequences….. Trust means everything, consumers have a right to privacy and security and the personal impact can be devastating.”

OTA shares this concern as consumers are entrusting online services, publishers and advertisers with their data and we owe it to them to make every effort to protect their data along with providing the ability to control and limit the collection, usage and sharing.

President Obama echoed this point stating that consumers deserve to have their information protected, “when people go online, we shouldn’t have to forfeit the basic privacy we’re entitled to as Americans,” and made a renewed call for a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to give Americans some baseline protections, including the right to decide what personal data companies collect from you and the right to know how companies are using that information.”

Comparing the internet and continued innovation of new services and capabilities to the building of a cathedral, the President stated, “[the internet] cathedral will not just be about technology, it will be about the values that we’ve embedded in the architecture of this system. It will be about privacy, and it will be about community. And it will be about connection.”