Recommendations Regarding Data Brokers
Regarding data brokers, the FTC is following through with a recommendation it made in December 2010 to give consumers access to the information that is being collected. The commission also wants data brokers to create a Website where the data is centralized, and consumers could find out what options they have regarding controlling the use of that data. For the agency itself, the commissioners laid out several areas that they will focus on over the next year, including Do Not Track efforts. Companies already have made good efforts in this area, they said, as have such bodies as the Digital Advertising Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium.In the mobile space, the FTC wants any companies offering mobile services to improve privacy protections, including making privacy disclosures shorter and more effective for consumers who now have to deal with lengthy, small-type disclosures on their small screens.The commissioners plan to push data brokers on the idea of the centralized Website for personal information thats been collected, and will work with large platform providerssuch as Internet service providers, social media companies, operating system creators and browser developersto develop policies around comprehensive tracking. The FTC also will work with the Department of Commerce and players in the tech industry to develop industry-specific codes of conduct. As a sort of carrot-and-stick approach, the FTC suggested that a companys adherence to the codes could help it if it gets in trouble with the FTC. Those companies that sign on to the codes but violate them could face FTC legal action. The Consumer Watchdog consumer advocacy organization applauded the FTCs efforts behind Do Not Track, as well as the commissions efforts to rein in data brokers. Data brokers buy, compile and sell a wealth of highly personal information about you, but theres no way to find out what they have or if its correct, John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdogs Privacy Project, said in a statement. Thats why the FTCs call for legislation in this area is so important.