FPF's Comments in Response to Department of Commerce Privacy NOI

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The Department of Commerce is examining the nexus between privacy and innovation in the Internet economy, as reflected in its recent Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to which the Future of Privacy Forum submitted this document.  After detailing the importance of privacy to the success of the Internet economy, our submission provides examples of innovations in online privacy such as:

  • Labeling privacy policies in a common-sense fashion by directing users to see how their information is used
  • Using an icon to attract consumer attention and a link to additional information
  • Limiting the retention of search queries and deleting data for targeted advertising after a defined period
  • Minimizing IP address details in web analytics
  • Employing stronger browser privacy controls
  • Using plug-ins that ensure opt-out status even after clearing cookies
  • Creating a mobile opt out and mobile profile viewer to provide behavioral controls on mobile devices.

We also identify areas of needed online privacy improvement such as:

  • The lack of usability of privacy controls, especially for social media
  • Privacy policies that are cumbersome and inaccessible to users
  • Lack of transparence and controls as to certain tracking technology
  • Lack of standardized definition of personal or sensitive information
  • The need for a plug in to maintain a stable opt out status
  • Increased data collection by applications
  • The illusion of privacy controls

Finally, we make suggestions on ways the Department of Commerce can exercise leadership to advance online privacy.

To read the full comments from FPF click here!