Sep 092010
 
 September 9, 2010  Business, Online

Kenneth Corbin writes:

A senior official at the Federal Trade Commission hinted on Wednesday that the agency is planning to prod online advertisers and Web companies to adopt new education tools and data-collection restrictions in an effort to protect consumer privacy.

“Right now the consumers really don’t understand what’s going on. So I think that is the real issue that needs to be addressed,” Loretta Garrison, a senior attorney at the FTC, said here at the O’Reilly Media Gov 2.0 Summit. “We think they sort of know they’re being tracked, but they don’t really understand the wealth of information that’s being collected and the many different parties that are involved and the various ways in which [information] is being used.”

Garrison acknowledged that the commission is sensitive to the concerns expressed by members of the Internet industry about enacting overly restrictive rules in a marketplace evolving as rapidly as the online advertising sector, particularly when advertising revenue funds the bulk of the free content and services on the Web.

But at the same time, she suggested that a baseline privacy protection should be available to consumers, recalling FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz’s comments at a recent Senate hearing when he proposed a “do-not-track mechanism” for online advertising, similar to the popular “do-not-call” registry that restricts the activities of telemarketers.

“There ought to be an element where if they don’t want to be tracked they ought to be able to say ‘no,'” Garrison said.

Read more on E-Commerce Guide.

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