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 December 3, 2009  Posted by  Business, Featured News, Online

As part of its new “Take Back Your Privacy” privacy initiative, CDT has launched a Privacy Complaint Tool to facilitate consumers filing complaints with the Federal Trade Commission about web sites or products or services that they believe are violating privacy.

CDT’s Privacy Complaint Tool makes it easy for you to file a consumer privacy complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — and to tell your friends so that they can be wary of that company or file their own complaints.

If you add their Privacy Complaint Tool bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar, you can simply click on the bookmarklet and then fill out the form that opens in a new window. The tool gives you a choice of filing a complaint with the FTC or sharing it with your friends via Twitter, Facebook, Digg, or email.

The tool does not directly submit your complaint to the FTC, however. According to CDT’s description:

If you choose to file your complaint with the FTC, it will be added to a database maintained by CDT. Approximately once each month, we will transfer collected complaints to the FTC. We are working with the FTC to streamline the process and automate the transfer.

All complaints that are shared with the FTC are placed in the Consumer Sentinel Network, a non-public online database that is used by thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement authorities worldwide. The FTC does not bring individual lawsuits; it may use your complaints as a starting point in investigations of companies that are regularly violating consumer privacy.

The Privacy Complaint Tool privacy policy can be found here. To install it, you just drag the button to your bookmarks toolbar.

Concerned about what CDT might do with the information you enter in the form? Here’s their existing privacy policy for the tool:

This tool is governed my CDT’s Web Site Privacy Policy with the following additions:

  • CDT will receive the complaints submitted with this tool and will submit them to the FTC on a monthly or quarterly basis. Within one month of when we submit the complaints, we will remove your name, email address, and any other contact information you provide from our database. We will never retain your name or contact information for longer than four months. As outlined in CDT’s Web Site Privacy Policy, we will not use or share your name, email address, or any other contact information you provide.
  • The FTC will receive and store your complaint. You can find the FTC’s Privacy Policy here.
  • If you share your complaint on Facebook, Twitter, or Digg, you will be taken off of CDT’s Web site and on to the appropriate social networking site(s). This will not result in cookies being placed on your computer by our Web site, but may result in cookies being placed by the social networking site(s). None of the information you provide when you log in to the social networking site(s) is transmitted to or logged by CDT.
    • You can find Facebook’s Privacy Policy here.
    • You can find Twitter’s Privacy Policy here.
  • You can find Digg’s Privacy Policy here.
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