Consumer privacy is an area of policy where companies can and must work alongside their users to protect data while providing their services. Companies should design products with privacy in mind from the start, following Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) such as transparency, choice, and security. The questions posed today revolve around how companies should go about implementing those FIPPs, who should enforce those principles, and how we can maintain the flow of data, particularly across borders, while still protecting users.

Balance is the prevailing question when examining privacy policy. The desire to bring the power of government to bear on a the problem is a strong one, but it must be set against the need to encourage innovation and the incredible social value of big data. Too much regulation risks creating too-high barriers to entry for new services and may even prohibit the creation of services that users would actually want to take advantage of and that uses personal data respectfully. Walking this line is a cautious process.

The best way to manage this process is through multi-stakeholder convenings with the goal of developing codes of conduct that can be enforced by the FTC. By bringing everyone to the table, companies, civil society, academics, and others can collaborate, understand the issues, and reach results that protect privacy, give users the information and choices they need, and still be flexible enough to allow for innovation and the development of services. The Commerce Department and the World Wide Web Consortium have both instituted projects along these lines, and positive outcomes seem possible.

Most Recent Statements & Filings:

CCIA Testifies In Support Of GPS Act

The tech industry is welcoming legislation Congress is proposing to update our outdated electronic privacy laws – written before almost anyone carried cell phones. Today Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black told the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee during its hearing that failure to address the geolocation privacy loophole is a problem…

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FTC Testifies On Privacy, Competition At Senate Commerce Hearing

Privacy as a competition issue was a focus at the Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on online privacy Thursday. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said having privacy rules could help provide a level playing field between companies that have privacy policies and those who don’t. Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen said, however, said something to be cautious of is enacting…

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FTC Releases Final Privacy Report

Yesterday the FTC released the long-awaited Final Report on privacy entitled “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change.” This report follows on to the FTC Staff Report released in December 2010 on the subject.  CCIA filed response comments last year. The new report follows on, to a large degree, with comments that the…

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