FPF Comments on Study Revealing that Websites are Leaking Consumer Data


WASHINGTON (October 11, 2011)-In response to the report released today at the webcast event, “Yes, They Really Know It’s You: The Digital Collection of Personal Information from Consumers and Citizens,” sponsored by various privacy organizations, the Future of Privacy Forum issued the following statement:

What the study fails to emphasize is that most companies targeting ads online have no use for personal information.  If they are getting that kind of information, it is most likely because of inadvertent mistake.  Still, web sites should pay attention to avoid mistaken exposure of personal information, and ad networks should take care not to collect such information if it mistakenly is exposed to them.   And every company involved should be thinking of how to innovate around new ways to help users understand and control their online experience.That being said, it’s important to appreciate the progress that is being made to ensure responsible online data use.  There are now a huge number of privacy professionals (Chief Privacy Officers and others) ensuring responsible data use.  The FTC and State Attorneys General are the cops on the beat with respect to harmful activities online and are having an impact.  The W3C is also working to quickly have a Do Not Track standard in place that will give users even more control over how tracking and data sharing takes place online.