As we previously posted, on February 23, 2012, the White House released a white paper setting forth A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy  (the “Framework”).  The Framework called for a “multi-stakeholder process” to move forward in implementing the goals it set forth, including the creation of a legally enforceable code of conduct.  On Monday, the Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”)  issued a Federal Register notice, the “Multistakeholder Process to Develop Data Privacy Codes of Conduct”, calling for public comment.  In this notice, NTIA called for stakeholders to comment on “on substantive consumer data privacy issues that warrant the development of legally enforceable codes of conduct, as well as procedures to foster the development of these codes.”

The NTIA seeks comments to begin to develop the code of conduct through “consensus-building” among a broad spectrum of stakeholders. The NTIA envisions the code of conduct to be one in which companies will voluntarily participate, but that will be legally enforceable and subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (among those companies that agree to participate). 

The NTIA has requested comments on the follow general subject matters: 

(1) What consumer privacy issues should be addressed in the codes of conduct (NTIA is particularly interested in privacy issues with respect to mobile applications, including those that involve location based services or cloud computing and those that are targeted at children under 13 and teenagers under 18)?

(2) How should NTIA properly implement the multistakeholder process (e.g. what entities should be involved, how should NTIA encourage participation amongst a varied group of stakeholders, what should be required to participate)?

(3) How can NTIA be transparent in the multistakeholder process (e.g. what exactly should be produced publicly, what is the best way to facilitate public review and comment)?

(4) How have other stakeholder groups defined and reached (or failed to reach) consensus?

Comments are due on or before 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time on March 26, 2012 and may be submitted via email or by mail to: 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 4725, Washington, DC 20230.