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New FTC privacy proposal unveiled today calls for added consumer protection online

Consumer Reports News: March 26, 2012 03:38 PM

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The Federal Trade Commission today released a new framework for protecting your privacy online. The final report sets forth best practices for businesses to protect your privacy and give you greater control over the collection and use of personal data.

The FTC also recommended that Congress consider enacting general privacy legislation, data security and breach notification legislation, as well as data broker legislation.

Key points in the report state that companies should:

  • Build in privacy protections at product development stage, including reasonable security for your data; limited collection and retention of data; and procedures to promote data accuracy.
  • Let you decide what is shared and with whom, and include a do-not-track tool.
  • Disclose details about their collection and use of your information, and provide access to the data collected on you.

Ioana Rusu, regulatory counsel for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, said she likes that the FTC is calling on lawmakers to pass a baseline privacy bill:

There are a lot of good initiatives in play that could help protect consumers' privacy, but ideally, we need a law to make sure everyone is playing by the same rules.

The final privacy report today expands on a preliminary report the FTC issued in December 2010.

For tips on how you can best protect your privacy while online see our guide to online security.

FTC Issues Final Commission Report on Protecting Consumer Privacy [FTC]
FTC Privacy Report [Consumers Union]

Maggie Shader

   

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