FTC Proposes More Online Transparency
March 27, 2012
Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report yesterday detailing its new proposal
that would allow consumers to see the data that’s collected about their online
searching and purchasing habits. The FTC’s report calls on Congress to enact
legislation giving consumers access to information collected about them by data
brokers. The model for the legislation that the FTC is proposing would be
similar to the rights consumers now have to review information amassed by
credit reporting agencies.
The recommendations from the FTC came as the organization
issued its final version of the online privacy report it initially issued in
December 2010. That report called on the technology and Internet industries to
create do-not-track mechanisms for consumers to opt-out of being followed by
online data collection agencies. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz
said Monday that self-regulation is resulting in do-not-track options for
consumers, although he suggested congressional involvement would help to
enhance online safety for consumers.
"We are confident that consumers will have an
easy-to-use and effective do not track option by the end of the year because
companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because
lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don't," Leibowitz said.
The latest version of the Firefox
browser already allows users to turn off Web-browsing histories and advise
websites that "I do not want to be tracked." Google is also issuing a
new version of Chrome that will contain a highly-visible “do not track” button
in the toolbar at the top.