It is a rare individual who has managed to keep at least some of their personal information from being stored in a Federal government database. With this forum, hopefully we can help each other better safeguard the public’s personal information.
FTC and Privacy
March 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm #157230
Title: Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change
Recommendations for Businesses and Policymakers
In today’s world of smart phones, smart grids, and smart cars, companies are collecting, storing, and sharing more information about consumers than ever before. Although companies use this information to innovate and deliver better products and services to consumers, they should not do so at the expense of consumer privacy.
With this Report, the Commission calls on companies to act now to implement best practices to protect consumers’ private information. These best practices include making privacy the “default setting” for commercial data practices and giving consumers greater control over the collection and use of their personal data through simplified choices and increased transparency. Implementing these best practices will enhance trust and stimulate commerce.
This Report follows a preliminary staff report that the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) issued in December 2010. The preliminary report proposed a framework for protecting consumer privacy in the 21st Century. Like this Report, the framework urged companies to adopt the following practices, consistent with the Fair Information Practice Principles first articulated almost 40 years ago:
- Privacy by Design: Build in privacy at every stage of product development;
- Simplified Choice for Businesses and Consumers: Give consumers the ability to make decisions about their data at a relevant time and context, including through a Do Not Track mechanism, while reducing the burden on businesses of providing unnecessary choices; and
- Greater Transparency: Make information collection and use practices transparent.
The Commission received more than 450 public comments in response to the preliminary report from various stakeholders, including businesses, privacy advocates, technologists and individual consumers. A wide range of stakeholders, including industry, supported the principles underlying the framework, and many companies said they were already following them. At the same time, many commenters criticized the slow pace of self-regulation, and argued that it is time for Congress to enact baseline privacy legislation. In this Report, the Commission addresses the comments and sets forth a revised, final privacy framework that adheres to, but also clarifies and fine-tunes, the basic principles laid out in the preliminary report.
Since the Commission issued the preliminary staff report, Congress has introduced both general privacy bills and more focused bills, including ones addressing Do Not Track and the privacy of teens. Industry has made some progress in certain areas, most notably, in responding to the preliminary report’s call for Do Not Track. In other areas, however, industry progress has been far slower. Thus, overall, consumers do not yet enjoy the privacy protections proposed in the preliminary staff report.
The Administration and certain Members of Congress have called for enactment of baseline privacy legislation. The Commission now also calls on Congress to consider enacting baseline privacy legislation and reiterates its call for data security legislation. The Commission is prepared to work with Congress and other stakeholders to craft such legislation. At the same time, the Commission urges industry to accelerate the pace of self-regulation.
March 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm #157239
Press Release from FTC:
FTC Issues Final Commission Report on Protecting Consumer Privacy
Agency Calls on Companies to Adopt Best Privacy Practices
“If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices – and many of them already have – they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy,” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. “We are confident that consumers will have an easy to use and effective Do Not Track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don’t.”
The final privacy report expands on a preliminary staff report the FTC issued in December 2010. The final report calls on companies handling consumer data to implement recommendations for protecting privacy, including:
March 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm #157237
Commentary from SiliconValley.com
New federal Internet privacy standards introduced
By Mike Swift
Federal regulators are targeting the lucrative personal information industry that allows marketers to draw an ever more intimate portrait of Internet users.
On Monday, the nation’s chief privacy regulator capped a two-year study of Internet privacy by delivering a sweeping series of recommendations to help consumers better understand and control the information being collected about them. Released one month after the White House called for a “privacy Bill of Rights,” the Federal Trade Commission’s 57-page privacy report consisted of a set of “best practices” that the Internet industry is expected to follow — or face sanctions.
“Your computer is your property, and people shouldn’t put things in it without your consent,” Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, said in a press call with reporters Monday.
March 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm #157235
March 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm #157233
IMO very good article providing a significant amount of background on FTC policy document from The Atlantic
The Philosopher Whose Fingerprints Are All Over the FTC’s New Approach to Privacy
PALO ALTO — A mile or two away from Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, Helen Nissenbaum of New York University was standing in a basement on Stanford’s campus explaining that the entire way that we’ve thought about privacy on the Internet is wrong.
It was not a glorious setting. The lighting was bad. The room was half empty. Evgeny Morozov was challenging her from the back of the room with strings of tough, almost ludicrously detailed questions.
Nissenbaum’s March presentation was part of Stanford’s Program on Liberation Technology and relied heavily on her influential recent research, which culminated in the 2010 book, Privacy in Context, and subsequent papers like “A Contextual Approach to Privacy Online.”
But the most important product of Nissenbaum’s work does not have her byline. She’s played a vital role in reshaping the way our country’s top regulators think about consumer data. As one measure of her success, the recent Federal Trade Commission report, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change,” which purports to lay out a long-term privacy framework for legislators, businesses, and citizens, uses the word context an astounding 85 times!
Given the intellectual influence she’s had, it’s important to understand how what she’s saying is different from other privacy theorists. The standard explanation for privacy freakouts is that people get upset because they’ve “lost control” of data about themselves or there is simply too much data available. Nissenbaum argues that the real problem “is the inapproproriateness of the flow of information due to the mediation of technology.” In her scheme, there are senders and receivers of messages, who communicate different types of information with very specific expectations of how it will be used. Privacy violations occur not when too much data accumulates or people can’t direct it, but when one of the receivers or transmission principles change. The key academic term is “context-relative informational norms.” Bust a norm and people get upset.
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