TrustArc Blog

Thoughts on FTC Privacy Report

December 02, 2010

By Fran Maier


TRUSTe welcomes yesterday’s FTC Privacy Report, on “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change.” Generally, we think that the Report is a positive inquiry that balances the need to protect consumer privacy while continuing to foster innovation in today’s online technology-driven markets. The Report reflects a thoughtful understanding of the changing nature of the online ecosystem – with the advent of mobile and other platforms – and highlights the complex questions posed by the collection and use of consumer data in the digital age.

The Report is a preliminary examination into consumer privacy, and is the result of a yearlong series of roundtable discussions by FTC staff with industry and other stakeholders, to which TRUSTe submitted comments. The report includes the results of the FTC Staff discussions and also proposes a framework to promote consumer privacy. Specifically, the Report identifies “Privacy by Design,” “Simplified Choice,” and “Greater Transparency” as the key elements of this framework in addition to Accountability. Of course, the concepts of choice and transparency are already familiar to TRUSTe seal holders and we were pleased to see that many of the recommendations in the FTC Report are already part of our privacy seal program. In fact, the Report highlights our TRUSTed Ads program as an example of providing consumer choice around behavioral advertising practices. We also believe our Mobile Privacy Certification demonstrates simplified, icon-driven privacy notices that are more consumer friendly.

In the coming weeks, we will be hosting a webinar to discuss the FTC’s proposed consumer privacy framework and will delve a little deeper into the areas of “Privacy by Design,” “Simplified Choice,” and “Greater Transparency.” We hope that you will be able to join us and we encourage you to send us any questions you have about the Report in advance of the webinar. You can also submit online comments directly to the FTC on or before January 31, 2011.