Top Story: Stage Set for Privacy Showdown in 2010

From 9/21 Cyber Report

Last week the Federal Trade Commission announced that beginning on Dec. 7th, it will hold the first in a series of three public round tables to discuss the growth of social networking, cloud computing, online and advertising marketing with a goal towards determining “how best to protect consumer privacy while supporting beneficial uses of their information and technological innovation.”

The FTC wants participants to address three questions: (1) What risks, concerns, and benefits arise from the collection, sharing, and use of consumer information? (2) Are there commonly understood or recognized consumer expectations about how information concerning consumers is collected and used? (3) Do the existing legal requirements and self-regulatory regimes in the United States today adequately protect consumer privacy interests?

The round table begins on the second anniversary of the FTC’s issuance of proposed self regulatory guidelines for behavioral targeting and FTC Chairman Liebowitz’s April warning that the industry was facing their last chance at self-regulation before the regulators took over.

By the time of the first round table, House Internet Subcommittee Chairman Boucher will have introduced his much anticipated privacy bill, giving the issue momentum when Congress returns in January. Not much activity is expected before next year on tech issues in general giving Congress’ full plate of health care, climate change, Afghanistan and the budget.

As discussed in the Sears matter below, the FTC is also stepping up on enforcements efforts regarding online privacy. More Info: FTC Press Release; 2009 Staff Report on Behavioral Targeting and a Wired Article on the Boucher proposal.