New FTC Privacy Proposal

Today the Federal Trade Commission released a proposal describing a new framework for protecting consumer privacy in both online and offline environments. The report reflects the new challenges users, publishers, service providers, and advertisers face in today’s digital environment and incorporates feedback from public roundtables conducted over the past year.  The report acknowledges the shortcomings of the current “notice and consent” framework, but doesn’t abandon it completely, rather it seeks to implement it in a way that makes more sense for users.

While we’ll need more time to digest and evaluate the details, we’re encouraged by what we’ve seen so far.  In particular, the FTC has proposed a set of principles that align well with the Mozilla manifesto and our approach to software development including:

  • privacy by design;
  • transparency;
  • user choice; and
  • no surprises.

Of course the devil is often in the details, but the first principles seem right.  The FTC should also be commended for continuing its efforts to seek a comprehensive proposal rather than focusing only on one aspect of the issue.

The Commission has also shown that it understands the complexity and nuance of many of the issues, for example, the blending distinction between PII and non-PII, and the contextual nature of privacy issues.  To that end, the Commission has articulated a robust set of questions on which it is seeking further public feedback.  Comments on the proposal are due on January 13, 2011.

Over the next month, we’ll examine the questions and proposal in more detail and take advantage of this opportunity to share our experience, concerns, and views on the proposed framework.

If you have thoughts about the proposal let us know.

8 Responses to New FTC Privacy Proposal

  1. Havvy says:

    This is the government sending a report on privacy. As such, be reasonable and look at it with suspicion. Does it truly support privacy, and is it the best way to provide privacy.

  2. Danny Moules says:

    Nice to see you guys keeping on top of it!

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