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    Wall Street Journal: FTC Hints at Findings in Upcoming Privacy Report

    The Wall Street Journal reports on the Federal Trade Commission’s upcoming revised consumer privacy guidelines:

    An official at the Federal Trade Commission on Friday said that the current methods of notifying consumers when their data is being collected are inadequate.

    The coments by Maneesha Mithal, the FTC’s associate director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, are an indication of likely conclusions of the agency’s wide-ranging review of privacy regulations. The agency’s revised privacy guidelines are expected to be released later this year.

    Ms. Mithal said the FTC’s report would recommend that consumers must be notified at the time that their data is collected – such as when tracking technology is installed on a computers machine by a website or an online advertiser. The current practice of notifying consumers of tracking in privacy policies has not worked, she said. […]

    The online advertising industry has argued that the data it collects about users is innocuous becase it does not identify users by name.

    However, in her remarks, Ms. Mithal also said that the distinction between personally identifiable data and other types of consumer data is blurring. She also said that the report would also recommend that privacy be part of the design of new technology that involves a user’s information .

    Still, it’s not clear whether the FTC’s report will create new restrictions on the data collection industry.

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