Nowadays, a news story on privacy is out of place if it doesn't mention Do-Not-Track (known as "DNT") or Big Data. While these hot topics represent key concerns for privacy professionals, advocates and regulators, there is no clear agreement on what they mean or how to address the privacy issues they raise. In this post, we consider recent developments on these topics, including how the Federal Trade Commission has sought to focus on and connect these new issues.DNT or DNC DNT is in the midst of a multi-faceted identity crisis, starting with a disagreement over the definition of DNT. Self-regulatory organizations and the advertising industry assert that DNT stands for "Do Not Target," referring to the use of consumer data for the purposes of targeted advertising. The FTC, buoyed by privacy advocates, appears to take the view that DNT means not only "Do Not Target" but also "Do Not Collect" (DNC). FTC Commissioner Brill elaborated at the 2012 IAPP Summit that she doesn't view the current DNT efforts as entirely sufficient because the choice DNT offers does not give consumers appropriate protection against what Brill characterized as "limitless, unmitigated" data collection. But Brill does not argue for wholesale implementation of DNC, and has indicated that the details of the implementation of DNT/DNC will continue to remain a key focus for the FTC.
As 2011 is coming to a close, many of us are thinking about what 2012 will bring. With regard to privacy, there are numerous key issues to choose from (and I am sure many privacy professionals would add to this list) - but from a corporate compliance standpoint, here are my top five picks for hot topics to address in 2012:
On May 10, 2011, the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law held a hearing on mobile privacy. We covered the hearing in detail on our blog. Yesterday, InfoLawGroup partner Boris Segalis spoke with Fox Live's Tracy Byrnes about the balance between business and consumer interests that mobile privacy implicates.The clip from the interview is available on Fox at http://video.foxnews.com/v/4689248/the-congressional-mobile-privacy-hearing/?playlist_id=86861
Our readers may have noticed that there is a lot in the privacy news this week. On Monday, I appeared on FoxNews.com Live to discuss smartphones and location privacy. Yesterday, Dave appeared on Fox 31 Denver KDVR to discuss The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). And new privacy and security law stories are breaking on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. We will continue to watch these and other rapidly evolving issues and will post new developments here.
As we have previously reported on our blog, 2011 has seen a whirlwind of privacy enforcement activity. The FTC, NLRB, EEOC, HHS and FINRA have all taken privacy enforcement actions this year. This March, the FTC has announced privacy settlements with Chitika and Twitter.
On December 1, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission issued a preliminary report entitled "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change, A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers". The report proposes a framework to balance the privacy interests of consumers with innovation that relies on consumer information to develop beneficial new products and services.