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    Hill: FTC shifts its approach to protecting online privacy

    The Hill reports on a change in the Federal Trade Commission’s approach to protecting consumer privacy online. Recently, and the agency released a report about the need for privacy protections for people for the data created when they spend time online. Now, the Hill reports:

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made a major shift in its efforts to protect privacy online by focusing on any information that can “reasonably be connected to a device or a person,” according to an agency official.

    Maneesha Mithal, the associate director of the FTC’s privacy division, said the agency’s latest report on privacy moves away from previous rules and regulations that were focused on securing personally identifiable information such as names, Social Security numbers and addresses.

    Now, Mithal said, the FTC is taking a broader view of what information is deserving of regulatory protection because the old model is “somewhat obsolete.” […]

    She conceded the new standard is “unpredictable” and “doesn’t provide guidance,” but said that the FTC’s decisions and enforcement actions will serve a kind of case law to help companies understand what information to protect and how. […]

    She stressed that the FTC’s new privacy report shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to a proposal from the White House, calling the two papers “complementary and consistent.”

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