Tuesday, March 27, 2012

US regulators call for tighter online privacy rules

WASHINGTON: The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called for Internet users to be given an easy-to-use "Do Not Track" feature in a report released on Monday backing tighter online privacy laws.


The FTC voted three-to-one to put its seal on recommendations for businesses and US legislators to better protect people's privacy in "an era of rapid change".


"If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices - and many of them already have - they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy," said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz.


"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."


The proposed privacy framework for businesses and US policy makers built on a staff report at the FTC in late 2010.


Firms crafting online services should factor privacy into every phase of projects, with special care given to ensure people's data is kept safe and to limit how much is collected, according to the report.


"Companies should give consumers the option to decide what information is shared about them, and with whom," the report said.


"This should include a Do-Not-Track mechanism that would provide a simple, easy way for consumers to control the tracking of their online activities."


Progress is being made on a do-not-track tool that would prevent online services or advertisers from recording people's online activities without their permission, according to the FTC.


"The Commission will work with these groups to complete implementation of an easy-to-use, persistent, and effective Do Not Track system," the report says.


The FTC plans a public workshop in the second half of this year to explore concerns about Internet service providers, operating systems, online social networks, and browser software tracking people's online behaviours.


Companies behind services, and those that act as data brokers, should make it clear to users what information is collected, the FTC recommended.


The FTC called for Congress to pass online privacy laws and for the Internet industry to "accelerate the pace of self-regulation".


View the original article here


Source From Channel News Asia

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