LIVE BLOG: Notes on David Vladeck’s preview of the FTC report on online privacy

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 9:26 am

    LIVE BLOG: Notes on David Vladeck’s preview of the FTC report on online privacy

    The FTC missed its deadline for posting its online privacy report online due to "technical problems"… Anti-trust panel going strong.   Watch live here


    We had the first words on the report earlier at Consumer Watchdog's conference on the future of online consumer protection. 


    Report just came online about an hour late, a lot to take in, but FTC  does endorse "Do Not Track Me" approach….that's news. 


    As the clock ticked down to the release of, FTC Consumer Protection Chief David Vladeck gave a preview of what's in the report that looks to closely mirrors what's in it.


    Vladeck's preview of big picture issues:


    1. Need to reduce burden on consumers. Consumers bear burdens.  One proposal is build privacy into products and sercurity at outset. "Privacy by design."  Limiting data collection to outset. Good practices by default on front end. Less time on back end to fix problems.
    2. Greatly simplify consumer choice – consumers can focus on choices that really matter to them. Uses of the data that they would not expect.  Data and privacy top of consumer mind and access to choice easy and available.
    3. More consistent privacy policies – compare at a glance. Encourage competiton on matters of privacy. Comparable privacy policies
    4. Strong protections for sensitive information – child, health, geolocation. Others that should be treated as sensitive


    Specific topics in report:

    • Will not tolerate technology arms race at expense of privacy.
    • Increase transparency about commercial data
    • Get rid of long privacy policies, no, better privacy policies.
    • Notice and choice.
    • Concerns about data brokers and aggregators.
    • Consumers want control, and the ability to go onine without tracking.  Report discusses viability of a universal mechanism – Do Not Track mechanism. Already efforts, laudable, but hard to know how consumers will respond. We need to simplify Do Not Track. 


    The expert panel I moderated that followed Vladeck hit some important points too:


    A. The online advertising industry will not go quietly. There will be lawsuits.

    B. The design specifications would likely be built into browsers and be a system by which browsers ship with a "do not track" function.

    C. Third party access by advertising networks is what's key.

    D. States may be a big stick for Congress to get industry's consent to "Do Not Track Me." Industry doesn't want states in the game.

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