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    Tech Daily Dose: FTC Official Wary About Uses Of Data Beyond Ads

    Tech Daily Dose reports on the online privacy views of David Vladeck, the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Protection Bureau Director. Vladeck has been open about his views on online policy, discussing the need for stronger consumer protections.

    The head of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau says while he believes most consumers do not mind getting targeted online ads based on their Web surfing habits they will continue to be wary that information collected for advertising purposes could be used for other activities.

    During a discussion taped earlier this month for a segment of C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” series to be broadcast on Sept. 11, FTC Consumer Protection Bureau Director David Vladeck said the agency wants to ensure that sensitive data such as medical information or financial information are not used inappropriately.

    “I don’t think the delivery of targeted ads is what has people worried,” he said. What most people are worried about “is the threat that there is this enormous amount of data out there that can be used for purposes other than advertising,” Vladeck added. […]

    Vladeck also was asked about privacy legislation being developed in the House by Energy Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush, D-Ill. Vladeck said the agency has not taken a formal position on either the draft privacy legislation from Boucher or a measure released this summer by Rush, which are expected to be merged into one bill.

    Still, Vladeck did voice concern with provisions in both measures. He noted the safe harbor programs provision in Rush’s bill might not provide consumers with enough assurance that they won’t be tracked in ways “not consistent with their expectation.” He also added that both measures “put enormous emphasis” on requiring detailed privacy policies. Vladeck said while he is not opposed to online privacy policies, he said the bills and most current Web site privacy policies do not focus on what consumers really need when they are surfing: short concise notices about what is being collected, who is collecting it and how it will be used.

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