Consumer advocacy groups applauded the FTC’s report, though some question if it goes far enough. Industry groups say the recommended policies would stifle innovation.
Trade Commissions report calling for a combination of federal laws and
self-policing among companies to protect online user privacy is drawing cautious
praise from consumer advocacy groups, though some claimed the suggestions do not
go far enough in establishing safeguards.
At the same
time, some industry groups are arguing that the restrictions proposed in the FTC report,
announced March 26, could harm innovation and restrict commerce on the
comes as the FTC joins other government agencies and the Obama Administration,
as well as various tech industry groups, wrestling with the increasingly thorny
issue of consumer online privacy. The debate has risen to new levels in recent
months, with major Internet firms like Facebook and Google facing criticism
from both the private and public sectors for the way they handle the issue of
consumer privacy and the amount of personal data they collect, which often is
used to help advertisers more easily target personalized ads for users.
Apple and Google have come under fire for enabling iPhones and Android-based
smartphones to share personal datasuch as photos and contactswith mobile apps
that are downloaded onto the devices. That has drawn the attention of U.S. Sen.
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) who has asked the FTC to look into the issue.
The FTC, which
issued a preliminary report on the issue in December 2010, in its final report
called on Congress to pass general privacy laws around personal data and breach
notifications, while at the same time looking to the tech industry to develop
policies that strengthen user privacy and give consumers greater control over
what data can be collected and how it can be used.