The big privacy news today is the release of the FTC report and discussions of a possible “Do Not Track” system for those who do not want their online activities collected or tracked by businesses. According to David Vladeck, who spoke at a Consumer Watchdog-sponsored conference this morning, the FTC does not believe that it has the statutory authority to mandate any such Do Not Track System; it would require Congressional action.
Edward Wyatt and Tanzina Vega of the New York Times report:
The Federal Trade Commission advocated a plan on Wednesday that lets consumers on the Internet choose whether they want information about their browsing habits to be collected, an option known as “do not track.”
The F.T.C.’s proposal, a framework for commercial use of consumer data, would make consumer privacy the default position and would let Web users decide whether Internet sites and advertisers can build profiles of their browsing and buying habits as well as collect other personal information.
Read more in the New York Times. While most of the buzz has been about Do Not Track, there are other important elements in the report and recommendations such as incorporating a “privacy by design” approach, enhancing transparency, and not retaining data — especially location data — longer than is needed.
The FTC is seeking comments on the issues and recommendations by Jan. 31, 2011.