Online Privacy Decisions Confront Obama

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Washington Post
By Kim Hart
January 13, 2009
Page D04

President-elect Barack Obama is about to face his first tests on consumer privacy, with questions about how much personal information Internet companies should be able to collect about consumers, how long they should keep that data, and whether they should use it to serve ads to Web surfers.

The Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington group supported by AT&T, is pushing the transition team to appoint a chief privacy officer to shape standards about the use of consumer data. Separately, the Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said they plan to file a complaint today with the Federal Trade Commission, urging the agency to investigate mobile marketing practices that may threaten consumer privacy.

Jules Polonetsky quoted:

“With this administration, how data is handled is going to be far more central than ever before,” said Jules Polonetsky, co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum and a former chief privacy officer at AOL. “We have people enthusiastically interacting with the government — wanting Barack to be our Facebook friend — yet we don’t have an accountable figure to help shape information policy.”

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