|Weekly News Digest
March 29, 2012 — In addition to this week's NewsBreak(s), the editors have compiled the Weekly News Digest, featuring stories from the week just past that you should know about. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.
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FTC Recommends Best Practices for Consumer Privacy Protection
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final report setting forth best practices for businesses to protect the privacy of American consumers and to give them greater control over the collection and use of their personal data. In the report, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Businesses and Policymakers,” the FTC also recommends that Congress consider enacting general privacy legislation, data security and breach notification legislation, and data broker legislation.
“If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices—and many of them already have—they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC. “We are confident that consumers will have an easy to use and effective Do Not Track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don’t.”
The final report calls on companies handling consumer data to implement recommendations for protecting privacy, including the following:
- Privacy by design: Companies should build in consumers’ privacy protections at every stage in developing their products. These include reasonable security for consumer data, limited collection and retention of such data, and reasonable procedures to promote data accuracy.
- Simplified choice for businesses and consumers: Companies should give consumers the option to decide what information is shared about them, and with whom. This should include a Do-Not-Track mechanism that would provide a simple, easy way for consumers to control the tracking of their online activities.
- Greater transparency: Companies should disclose details about their collection and use of consumers’ information and provide consumers access to the data collected about them.
Based on technological advances and industry developments since the December 2010 preliminary report and in response to more than 450 staff comments, the agency is revising recommendations in three areas: the guidance’s scope, when companies should provide consumers with choices, and recommendations about data brokers.
Over the course of the next year, commission staff members will work to encourage consumer privacy protections by focusing on five main action areas: Do Not Track, mobile, data brokers, large data platforms, and promoting enforceable self-regulatory codes.
The FTC works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.
Source: Federal Trade Commission
Paula J. Hane
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