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    In the News: Privacy Lives Joins Nine Groups in Urging FTC to Strengthen Consumer Privacy Protection

    Privacy Lives joins nine groups in submitting comments (1.1 MB pdf) to the Federal Trade Commission urging stronger consumer privacy protections. In September, the FTC announced it will 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” and requested comments.

    “Developments in the digital age urgently require the application of Fair Information Practices to new business practices,” the groups said. “The potential dangers to consumers’ privacy rights are enormous, yet few consumers understand the intrusive and all too common data collection and sharing that can occur.”

    Consumers increasingly rely on the Internet and other digital services for a wide range of transactions and services, many of which involve their most sensitive affairs, including health, financial, and other personal matters. One of the new ways data is being collected and used is behavioral advertising, which involves the surreptitious monitoring of user activity by companies for marketing purposes. […]

    Surveys conducted by reputable organizations have highlighted two important findings: Consumers highly value data privacy, and consumers are confused about company protections of customer privacy. Few consumers really understand the data collection system and targeting advertising environment online. […]

    In September, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California-Berkeley released a study that found, “Contrary to what many marketers claim, most adult Americans (66%) do not want marketers to tailor advertisements to their interests.” […]

    “Americans mistakenly believe that current government laws restrict companies from selling wide-ranging data about them. When asked true-false questions about companies’ rights to share and sell information about their activities online and off, respondents on average answer only 1.5 of 5 online laws and 1.7 of the 4 offline laws correctly because they falsely assume government regulations prohibit the sale of data.”

    The comments included a legislative primer and overview, which the groups submitted to Congress in September and detailed recommended solutions for and informing the public and government officials of important gaps in consumer privacy protection.

    The groups in the coalition are:
    Center for Digital Democracy
    Consumer Action
    Consumer Federation of America
    Consumer Watchdog
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Privacy Lives
    Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
    Privacy Times
    U.S. Public Interest Research Group
    The World Privacy Forum

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