FTC Releases Final Privacy Report

By: Absolute Team | 4/4/2012

The FTC has released its final report on "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Business and Policymakers." The report sets out best practices for businesses to protect consumer privacy while also giving them more control over the collection and use of their data.

The report calls on companies handling consumer data to implement the following recommendations, directly quoted from the guide:

  • Privacy by Design - companies should build in consumers' privacy protections at every stage in developing their products. These include reasonable security for consumer data, limited collection and retention of such data, and reasonable procedures to promote data accuracy;
  • Simplified Choice for Businesses and Consumers - companies should give consumers the option to decide what information is shared about them, and with whom. This should include a Do-Not-Track mechanism that would provide a simple, easy way for consumers to control the tracking of their online activities.
  • Greater Transparency - companies should disclose details about their collection and use of consumers' information, and provide consumers access to the data collected about them.

The guide promotes a more proactive approach to data security, one that incorporates security and privacy concerns into all areas of the company; larger companies encumbered by older standards & systems have struggled, to date, to adapt to this approach.

The FTC will continue to pursue additional privacy protections; this year they will be encouraging consumer privacy protections by focusing on 5 main action items:

  • Do-Not-Track
  • Mobile privacy protections
  • Transparency of data brokers
  • Investigating issues related to tracking by large platform providers
  • Promoting enforceable self-regulatory codes of conduct

You can also find a detailed analysis of the report here.

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