The Federal Trade Commission is very serious about pushing online advertisers and analytic companies to revise their privacy policies. In fact, it’s so serious that it’ll go to Congress to make it happen if necessary, if commissioner Julie Brill is to be believed.
Talking to a crowd of researchers at UC Berkeley recently, Brill said that companies need to start considering customer privacy from the get-go, making its data practices more transparent and easier to understand for customers, as well as being more stringent about how much data needs to be collected, and for how long such data needs to be stored. Brill told the audience that she was glad to see the industry react to the Do Not Track Legislation suggestions from the end of last year, she felt that claims that the subject can be dealt with through self-regulation to be too little, too late, considering that the FTC called for such a move two years ago:
[The] industry has been kind of slow to deal with this issue. We’ve been very pleased that, since we released our report two months ago, we seem to have caught the industry’s attention now.
Of course, catching attention is only the first step. Brill said that, if self-regulation doesn’t happen quickly enough, or to such an extent that satisfies the FTC, “we will ask Congress to take up the issue.”
The end result? Your online information will likely end up safer – even if the US Government has to force the issue.
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