TrustArc Blog

Highlights From Our Privacy Comments to the Department of Commerce

February 01, 2011

By Fran Maier

Last Friday we submitted our comments to the Department of Commerce regarding their previously issued privacy report (a.k.a. “The Green Paper”). You can read the comments we submitted here, as well as the comments of numerous individuals, companies, industry groups, and non-profits here. Some key points we discussed in our comments include:

1) A domestic privacy policy framework needs to be flexible – it has to integrate with existing sectoral privacy laws like COPPA and remain broad enough to address emerging privacy issues.

2) Federal regulators should work closely with industry – corporate innovation is at risk from onerously restrictive standards. TRUSTe believes consumer privacy can be protected while maintaining corporate incentives to innovate.

3) Fair Information Practice Principles should be reviewed and updated – the foundation of the current FIPs was established long before the existence of social networks and online data brokers.

4) Non-government entities, like TRUSTe, can help with compliance – these entities can assist in decreasing barriers to use and speeding resolution of complaints

5) We need better online data transparency – privacy policies are useful in that they establish enforceable privacy protections, but they are poor consumer communication tools. We need shorter, enhanced privacy notices that exist outside the privacy policy.