The United States federal trade commission has called for stronger regulation of the information, often “consumer data”, collected by major U.S. corporations that accumulate a diverse and massive amount of personal, financial information about millions of consumers. The FTC is pushing for a provision that would allow people access to the information being collected on them. Helping give a lot more transperancy to the actions of major corporations who may or may not use consumer information in safe ways.
If you have ever had any moral concerns with corporations in America, then you should probably be worried when they have all of your most private information and financial data.
The basics arguments are:
- The Federal Trade Commission(FTC) wants corporations to tell consumers what data are being collected and allow them to opt out of the practice.
- The corporations say they can, “self-regulate” their own consumer data and information security.
Well, I would speculate that many Americans are not a big fan of “self-regulation”, as was witnessed with Wall Street and our major financial markets these past years. They self-regulated themselves to spending trillions of dollars, screwing over millions of people and stealing money from the world. Why are these companies going to take the moral high road with our privacy and consumer data??
I doubt they will..
The FTC’s privacy framework is built on three principles:
- Privacy by Design - corporations are required to implement “consumer privacy protections” at every stage in developing their products.
- Simplified Choice for Businesses and Consumers - corporations must give customers the choice to choose what data is shared about them, and with whom. Also there must be an implemented “Do Not Track” mechanism.
- Greater Transparency - corporations are required to disclose details about their collection and use of consumers’ information, and provide consumers access to the data collected about them.
Look at your email in boxes today, do you see junk and spam coning off various sign-ups and registrations you have made in the past? I’m sure there are plenty of obvious marketing junk flooding you everyday, from your consumer data being shared, sold, and compiled through an endless list of sign-ups, logins, registrations, and more hoops that you use daily. Sometimes I’ve seen emails come from work related vendors and similar companies, that have let my email slip into the consumer sales and promotions categories. Wonder how eh? Anyway you can turn a buck.
So what can the FTC really do about large, powerful US corporations?
“If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices — and many of them already have — they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy,” Mr. Leibowitz said in a statement. “We are confident that consumers will have an easy-to-use and effective do-not-track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don’t.”
There have been additional bills that have been sent through the United States congress regarding internet policy and user privacy. A major bill on the issue was placed by Senator John D. Rockefeller 4th, a democrat from West Virginia, which would require a “do not track” computer code within every Internet browser. Allowing the user control over their privacy and consumer data security, with the default setting to protected browsing. Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, proposed legislation that has an opt-out procedure for data mining, and Representatives Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Joe Barton, Texas Republican, have offered a bill enhancing children’s privacy online, something the F.T.C. report also supports.
The F.T.C. brought forth new regulatory standards that show the new bill would not affect small business or companies that collect online data from 5,000 people or fewer and do not sell that data to third parties. Helping prove that no additional costs or taxes would be levied against most American businesses that hold user data for resale and other consumer interactions, but also hold all data private unless required release under law. It would also loosen the guidelines for companies that collect data for the purposes consistent with the context of a user’s visit to a particular Web site. For example, if a user visits a Web site to make a purchase, the company would be able to collect data on that user and would not be required to offer consumers the option to opt out of data collection.