Fed online privacy guidelines slammed

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privacy11.jpgADOTAS — Some privacy groups weren’t exactly thrilled with the Federal Trade Commission’s recommendations on how the ad industry should protect online user data.

Here are some of the responses:

“The commission embraced a narrow intellectual framework as it examined online marketing and data collection for this proceeding. Since 2001, the Bush FTC has made industry self-regulation for privacy and online marketing the only acceptable approach when considering any policy safeguards (although the Clinton FTC was also inadequate in this regard as well). Consequently, FTC staff—placed in a sort of intellectual straitjacket—was hampered in their efforts to propose meaningful safeguards.” – Jeff Chester, Exec. Director, Center for Digital Democracy.

“The FTC did a punt” on the question of sensitive information regarding health, finances or children…”Instead of specifically saying how this information should be treated, the FTC encouraged the industry, consumers and privacy advocates to develop more specific standards to address the issue. This area is very difficult and we were looking to the FTC to help set specific standards. The bottom line is that the FTC fell down on the job.” – Pam Dixon the executive director of the World Privacy Forum.

“There are some populations, namely children and teenagers, that are so vulnerable that we should say ‘hands off’, don’t target these groups. They are not sophisticated or cognitively able to make decisions in a meaningful way about their data. It’s predatory to take their information and target them when they are not aware of what they are giving up,” – Corie Wright, a senior counsel with the Institute for Public Representation.

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