PublishedFebruary 24, 2011

Big Week For Online Privacy Initiatives

Yesterday was a big day for privacy as the White House released its white paper on consumer privacy, and simultaneously a group consisting of nearly all of the online advertising companies announced that they would begin work to recognize the Do-Not-Track header offered as a privacy feature by some web browsers.

We’re happy to see the White House’s final product, and that it portrays a strong belief in the power of self-regulation backed up by government enforcement. We are also glad to see an industry step up to give a vivid demonstration of the potential for self-regulation.

The new white paper sets out a basic set of fundamental privacy principles, based on the widely used Fair Information Practice Principles, that they are calling the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. These recommended principles, including user control, transparency, and security among others, have been the bedrock of privacy practice for quite some time, and are the basis by which the industry designs new products and determines privacy policy.

The white paper also details an important process for multistakeholder collaboration on codes of conduct for individual industries. These codes would form the basis for self-regulation within an industry, will be carefully tailored to take into account the particular details of each business sector, and will have backstop enforcement by the FTC. Forming these kinds of codes of conduct has been at the forefront of CCIA’s recommendations for online privacy. We look forward to participating with the government and with all other stakeholders in the development of these codes in the months and years to come.

Finally, CCIA congratulates the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Commerce, and the Digital Advertising Alliance, for their announcement yesterday of an industry agreement to look for the Do-Not-Track header and to treat it as if it were an opt-out. This is a perfect example of how industry, government, and affected stakeholders can work together to reach a solution that works for all. We look forward to seeing more of the same in the future.

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