Action Line: FTC recommends consumer privacy rules
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
5/01/12 at 4:33 AM
Dear Action Line: Are there legal privacy guidelines on what companies can do with the data they keep on you such as keeping track of what you like to buy so they can send you all sorts of ads for those products? I'm so sick of this I shop with cash only! - M.A.H., Tulsa.
Protect our privacy: The report, "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers," is available at tulsaworld.com/FTCConsumerPrivacy The FTC is also asking Congress to consider enacting general privacy legislation, data security, breach notification legislation and "data broker legislation."
"If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices - as many already have - they will innovate and deliver creative new services consumers can enjoy without sacrificing privacy," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "We are confident consumers will have an easy to use and effective 'Do Not Track' option by the end of the year as companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and lawmakers should enact legislation if they don't."
Smart everything: The 72-page document's executive summary begins, "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.
Do the right thing: "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 personal data by simplified choices and increased transparency. Using these best practices will enhance trust and stimulate commerce."
Fair information practices: The report follows a preliminary staff report FTC issued in December 2010 proposing a framework for "protecting consumer privacy in the 21st Century." The framework urges companies to adopt practices, consistent with the "Fair Information Practice Principles" tulsaworld.com/FTCFairInfoPract first articulated 40 years ago.
Do not track: The report says consumers should be given the ability to decide how their data will be used, at a relevant time and context, including instituting a "do not track" mechanism. The preliminary report called on industry to create and implement a mechanism to allow consumers to control the collection and use of their online browsing data, introduced as "Do Not Track" bills in both House and the Senate, which, if enacted, would direct FTC to "promulgate regulations and establish standards for a Do Not Track regime." Watch out, Google!
Original Print Headline: FTC recommends consumer privacy rules
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