Sunday, August 30, 2015

FTC chief confident on 'Do Not Track' progress

With the threat of congressional action, the FTC's chairman says he expects industry to implement an effective "Do Not Track" option by the end of the year.

FTC chief confident on 'Do Not Track' progress

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Workers who haven’t applied for jobs lately may not know how certain terms affect one’s ability to be tapped from the applicant pack.
Workers who haven’t applied for jobs lately may not know how certain terms affect one’s ability to be tapped from the applicant pack.

With all eyes today on the Supreme Court and the future of Obamacare - or ObamaRomneyCare, if you prefer - it's easy to overlook other news from Washington. But here's one that will matter to anyone who worries about Internet data tracking.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued its long-awaited final report on "best practice" for protecting American consumers in an era of ubiquitous digital data. And FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz says he's hopeful that it's all the nudge industry will need - with the threat of congressional action if self-enforcement fails.

“We are confident that consumers will have an easy to use and effective Do Not Track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don’t,” Leibowitz said in a statement.

The FTC says its goal is to make "privacy the 'default setting' for commercial data practices - a huge and complex challenge, as the report acknowledges, in an era of "smart phones, smart grids, and smart cars [when] companies are collecting, storing, and sharing more information about consumers than ever before."  So let's hope the optimism is warranted.

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Inquirer Business Columnist
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About this blog

Jeff Gelles, who writes the Inquirer's weekly Consumer 14.0 and Tech Life columns, takes a broad look at the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas.

Reach Jeff at jgelles@phillynews.com.

Jeff Gelles Inquirer Business Columnist
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