What Do You Think of a ‘Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights’?

Does social media need a founding document like the one on which America was created? Law, media and privacy experts think so and now you, the social media user, have a chance to voice your opinion and vote, just like any good democracy.

Does social media need a founding document like the one on which America was created?  Law, media and privacy experts think so and now you, the social media user, have a chance to voice your opinion and vote, just like any good democracy.

That is along the lines of a 21st century, wired ‘bill of rights’ that could become a founding document for social media sites moving forward, a “Social Network Users Bill of Rights.”

The list includes 14 tenets that its creators, from lawyers to media executives to consumer and privacy advocates, believe social networks should agree to honor, such as honesty, freedom of speech, protection of privacy and control over personal data.

Where did the Bill of Rights come from?

Social media users can thank, or blame, social networks themselves.

The document grew out of high profile privacy-related incidents in 2009 and 2010 such as Facebook unilaterally changing its privacy practices and the release of users’ top e-mail contacts by Google Buzz.

The outcry from those controversies prompted a group to collaboratively draft the first “Social Media Users Bill of Rights for the 21st Century” over four days at last year’s Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in San Jose, Calif.

That kicked off a conversation between Facebook, the ACLU and others affected by technology’s expansion into daily life, and users’ personal information.

A panel discussion with lawyers and media executives was held at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival in Austin, Texas, to get the SXSWi community to cast their votes and help to shape a bill of rights that would reflect the participation of many thousands of people using the social networks.

And now the document is open to those thousands of social network users themselves to vote.

The virtual ballot box is open from now until June 15, 2011, online, on Facebook, on Twitter and Doodle too (see below for full details).

Before you vote, take a look at the Bill’s 14 key tenets:

We the users expect social network sites to provide us the following rights in their Terms of Service, Privacy Policies, and implementations of their system:

  1. Honesty: Honor your privacy policy and terms of service
  2. Clarity: Make sure that policies, terms of service, and settings are easy to find and understand
  3. Freedom of speech: Do not delete or modify my data without a clear policy and justification
  4. Empowerment : Support assistive technologies and universal accessibility
  5. Self-protection: Support privacy-enhancing technologies
  6. Data minimization: Minimize the information I am required to provide and share with others
  7. Control: Let me control my data, and don’t facilitate sharing it unless I agree first
  8. Predictability: Obtain my prior consent before significantly changing who can see my data.
  9. Data portability: Make it easy for me to obtain a copy of my data
  10. Protection: Treat my data as securely as your own confidential data unless I choose to share it, and notify me if it is compromised
  11. Right to know: Show me how you are using my data and allow me to see who and what has access to it.
  12. Right to self-define: Let me create more than one identity and use pseudonyms. Do not link them without my permission.
  13. Right to appeal: Allow me to appeal punitive actions
  14. Right to withdraw: Allow me to delete my account, and remove my data

Have an opinion?  Take it to social media with these ways to express your views on the proposed “Bill of Rights:”

Vote on the individual rights at http://SNUBillOfRights.com