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    FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen Answers Questions on Privacy at Reddit

    Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen answered questions concerning privacy during an Ask Me Anything session at Reddit. Here’s are a couple of questions and answers:

    What sort of choices do I have as a consumer when a company changes the terms of service or privacy policy (example: Google)?

    The FTC has made it clear that companies need to notify consumers and get their consent before using their personal information in a way that is different from what they promised when they collected that information. If consumers object to the changed terms, they can look for other products or services in the market that offer privacy terms they prefer. It seems like companies are starting to compete on their privacy terms more frequently and I applaud this development. […]

    A lot of apps collect information that on its face creates no problem for the end user. What pisses off a lot of consumers is when that information gets into the hands of data brokers. What is the FTC doing to about data brokers and their ability to create profiles on users?

    We have also heard concerns about how consumer information is shared with third parties. In response, the Commission recently began a formal study of the data broker industry. We sent out formal requests for information to nine large data brokers to learn more about their practices, including how they use, share, and secure consumer data. It is vital that we have a good understanding of how data brokers operate because appropriate use of data can greatly benefit consumers through better services and convenience while inappropriate use or insecure maintenance of data could cause significant harm to consumers. We will carefully analyze the submissions from the companies and use the information to decide how to proceed in this area.

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