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FTC Privacy Report Proposes 'Do Not Track' Option For Online Consumers

by Wright Bryan
Dec 1, 2010

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Wright Bryan

The Federal Trade Commission issued a report on consumer privacy today that, among other things, suggests the creation of a "Do Not Track" system for people who do not want marketers collecting information about their online habits.

The "Do Not Track" proposal is similar to the successful federal "Do Not Call" registry for telemarketers.

In a statement released with the report, the FTC said the burden should be on marketers to protect consumers, not the other way around:

The FTC staff developed the proposed framework in recognition of increasing advances in technology that allow for rapid data collection and sharing that is often invisible to consumers. Although many companies use privacy policies to explain their information practices, the policies have become long, legalistic disclosures that consumers usually don't read and don't understand if they do. Current privacy policies force consumers to bear too much burden in protecting their privacy.

The statement went on to say that:

The report recommends allowing consumers "reasonable access" to the data that companies maintain about them, particularly for non-consumer facing entities such as data brokers.

Titled Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers, the FTC report is targeted at the lawmakers and industry players who are already shaping privacy policy in the Internet age. It is also open for public comment unti. January 31, 2011.

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