Privacy Lives joined 10 consumer and privacy groups in sending a letter (pdf) to Congress warning that â€œtracking and targeting of consumers online have reached alarming levels,â€ andÂ outlining the protections any online privacy legislation must include. Industry self-regulation has not provided meaningful consumer protection and legislation is needed.
â€œThis tracking is an invasion of privacyâ€¦ Consumers now rely on the Internet and other digital services for a wide variety of transactions,â€ the groups wrote. â€œThese include sensitive activities, such as health and financial matters. In these contexts, tracking peopleâ€™s every move online is not simply a matter of convenience or relevance. It presents serious risks to consumers’ privacy, security and dignity.â€
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) chairman of the House Energy and Commerceâ€™s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, is expected to introduce online privacy legislation Tuesday. Â The coalitionâ€™s letter was sent to all members of the U.S House of Representatives.
The groups outlined principles and goals to protect consumers.
- Robust Fair Information Practices are the key to legislation concerning online privacy.
- Notice and choice are inadequate to protect consumers. Transparency is not enough if consumers have no real understanding or control.
- Self-regulation for privacy will not protect consumers.
- Law enforcement access to personal data should require a warrant.
The groups signed onto the letter are:
Center for Digital Democracy
Consumer Federation of America
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
The World Privacy Forum