Bob Gellman and Pam Dixon have written a report for the World Privacy Forum: “Many Failures: A Brief History of Privacy Self-Regulation in the United States.” Here’s the summary of their report:
Major efforts to create self-regulatory, or voluntary, guidelines in the area of privacy began in 1997. Industry promoted privacy self-regulation at the time as a solution to consumer privacy challenges. This report reviews the leading efforts of the first self-regulatory wave from 1997 to 2007, and includes a review of the life span, policies, and activities of the Individual Reference Services Group, Privacy Leadership Initiative, Online Privacy Alliance, Network Advertising Initiative, BBBOnline Privacy Program, US-EU Safe Harbor Framework, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and the Platform for Privacy Preferences. A key finding of this report is that the majority of the industry self-regulatory programs that were initiated failed in one or more substantive ways, and, many disappeared entirely. The report concludes with a discussion of possible reforms for the process, including a defined and permanent role for consumers, independence, setting benchmarks, and other safeguards.
You can read the full report here.
Pam will be testifying about the report and related issues tomorrow (Thursday) at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, “Understanding Consumer Attitudes About Privacy,” at 9:00. You can find the witness list and prepared testimony at http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=8979.