CDT’s ‘Take Back Your Privacy’ Campaign Will Put Privacy Front and Center

For immediate release
December 3, 2009

CDT’s ‘Take Back Your Privacy’ Campaign Will Put Privacy Front and Center

WASHINGTON – The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) today launched its Take Back Your Privacy campaign designed around the twin goals of:  

  • Securing passage of a comprehensive federal consumer privacy law that establishes clear rights for consumers and clear rules for companies that collect personal information.
  • Increasing demand for and availability of user-friendly privacy tools to give Internet users more control of their data.

“It’s time for privacy law and online practices to catch up with the seismic shifts in technology,” CDT President and CEO Leslie Harris said. “We know that Americans want better privacy protections. Take Back Your Privacy will help them make sure that their voices are heard.”

The campaign Web site, www.takebackyourprivacy.org, will give Internet users a platform and the tools to create communities that will unite around these issues. The campaign will provide Internet users with unique tools allowing them to not only contact those in the government and industry who can change the system, but also to alert their friends about what needs to be done.  The Web site will become an interactive hub for the campaign, kept fresh with information about the latest developments in privacy controls and how Congress is reacting to the campaign’s message.  Some of the organizing and educational tools include: 

  • A Privacy Complaint Tool that allows people to register privacy concerns they find online with the Federal Trade Commission and share those concerns with their social media contacts.
  • A letter-writing tool that allows users to contact Members of Congress directly about privacy legislation
  • Insight and analysis on current privacy tools that are available and how they can be improved
  • Social media tools to spread the word and discuss what can be done

Some time in the first quarter of 2010, CDT will launch "Privacy Labs," a development area where ideas on new privacy tools can be exchanged, and new tools can be created to help people take control of their data and privacy as they surf the net. Privacy Labs is intended to foster an open community where anyone who feels strongly about privacy protection can contribute new ideas or develop new tools, from savvy developers to concerned Internet users.

"The web is constantly innovating and privacy has to be part of that innovation," Harris said.  "To get there, we have to build the demand side, that’s one of the goals of this campaign."

CDT’s Privacy Complaint Tool, as mentioned above, launches today on the campaign Web site.  The tool is a downloadable bookmark applet that will help Internet users register privacy complaints with the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, as well as share privacy concerns with friends and family through social networks.

In coming months, Take Back Your Privacy will add new features including contests, videos, and fact sheets, all aimed at helping users become more effective advocates for stronger privacy protections.

“We know that restoring the privacy balance in this country won’t happen overnight, but it won’t happen at all if we don’t demand it,” CDT Vice President Ari Schwartz. “Our goal is to make privacy a higher priority, so lawmakers and business leaders will have no choice but to respond.”