FTC proposes new privacy framework

In a highly anticipated move, on December 1, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its report and recommendations regarding protecting personal information gathered online. The FTC recommended moving away from self-regulation by the industry towards a more European, “privacy-by-design” approach, which offers a much greater degree of protection to individuals, including by requiring businesses collecting data online to build privacy protections into their everyday business practices and retain data on consumer preferences and online browsing activity only as long as needed and deleting data on a regular basis.  

While this privacy framework may not be enforceable on its own, FTC’s recommendations therein are expected to be the basis of a broader legislative action. A comprehensive data privacy bill has been circulating in Congress for some time now. For example, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Rep. Rich Boucher (D-VA), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and John Kerry (D-MA) have been working on legislation regulating and protecting an individual’s personal information. In fact, according to Rep. Joe Barton, a key figure on the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, privacy legislation is expected to advance despite the takeover of the House by the Republicans.

You can view the full report here.

You can view FTC's press release here.

"Agency Proposes ‘Do Not Track’ Option for Web Users," New York Times (December 1, 2010).