FPF Responds to FTC Release of Final Privacy Framework Report


Please see below for FPF’s comments on today’s release of the FTC Final Privacy Framework Report. Today’s report follows a preliminary staff report that the FTC issued in December 2010.

Jules Polonetsky, Director and Co-Chair of the Future of Privacy Forum:

“Although the FTC calls for legislation, the focus of the report is a strong demand for an acceleration of industry best practices efforts.  Whether it is finalizing Do Not Track, creating a central data broker opt-out site, or implementing standardized notices, the Commission is urging industry to take action itself.

Like the Commerce Department, the FTC also sensibly focuses on “the context of the consumers interaction with a business” to try to ensure new innovative uses of data are permissible. The Commission held to the basic ideas of the staff report, but responded to business and advocacy concerns by adding more nuance and flexibility.”

Christopher Wolf, Founder and Co-Chair of the Future of Privacy Forum:

“First, it is gratifying to see that the input provided by the Future of Privacy Forum was useful to the FTC, which repeatedly cites the Forum in the Report.

Second, the FTC’s definition of the scope of privacy protection is flexible and sensible, and allows for use of de-identified data.

Third, it is not surprising that the Commission joins in the call for baseline privacy legislation and data security legislation. There appears to be a groundswell of support for legislation. With that said, the FTC has called for legislation before, so by itself, this support will not necessarily lead to legislation anytime soon. Thus, improvements to the existing framework remain important.

On Do Not Track, the FTC correctly is prepared to wait for the ongoing self-regulatory efforts to proceed.  A lot of progress has been made and can be expected.

On mobile, the FTC correctly supports further self-regulation, which makes sense given the complexity of the issues involved. The Future of Privacy Forum is convening an App Privacy Summit at Stanford University on April 25, related to this. On data brokers, the FTC is correct to call for protection proportionate to the sensitivity of the data. There is much work industry can do, and a self-regulatory approach makes sense given the complexities.

The reference in the Report to ‘Large Platform Providers’ is a welcome reference that focuses on functions rather than the specific technology used. For example, It has been a mistake in the past to focus solely on ISPs without considering other companies that collect and use (or could collect and use) as much information as ISPs.”

For any questions, please call Beth Sullivan at 202-550-4401 or email [email protected].