Privacy Lives joins 16 groups — including the ACLU, Center for Digital Democracy and Public Citizen — in sending a letter (pdf) to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz asking the agency “to build on its recent privacy roundtables to draft a comprehensive plan that both details the deficiencies in Americans’ privacy rights, and proposes comprehensive statutory and regulatory solutions to those problems.”
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission announced it would hold public roundtables to “explore the privacy challenges posed by the vast array of 21st century technology and business practices that collect and use consumer data.” The object of the roundtables “is to determine how best to protect consumer privacy while supporting beneficial uses of the information and technological innovation.” At the first roundtable in December, I spoke on a panel about online targeted behavioral advertising. The final roundtable was in March.
In the letter to the FTC, the groups said that, “By dint of its expertise and through the input collected from these events, the Commission is now well positioned to issue a wide ranging report – one that addresses the complex and interconnected problems of data collection, offline and online. We urge the Commission to seize this opportunity.” The Commission should take the following steps, the groups said:
- Propose a comprehensive privacy law that would give consumers meaningful safeguards and control of their personal information and promote innovation to achieve those aims;
- Set out specific regulations for the collection of information by the online advertising industry to help ensure that consumers have some meaningful control over their personal information;
- Identify specific new business practices, such as location-based targeting and digital signage, that raise possible privacy concerns and propose solutions that could be pursued; and
- Improve the agency’s transparency so that the public is better able to understand the significance and effectiveness of the Commission’s enforcement action.
The groups listed on the letter are: ACLU, Benton Foundation, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Consumer Watchdog, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Essential Information, National Consumers League, Privacy Lives, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Privacy Times, Public Citizen, US PIRG and World Privacy Forum.