Internet Privacy: Comparison of Federal Agency Practices With FTC's Fair Information Principles
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Concerned about the capacity of the on-line industry to collect, store, and analyze vast amounts of data about consumers visiting commercial web sites, the FTC reported in May 2000 on its most recent privacy survey of commercial web sites. The surveys objective was to assess the on-line industrys progress in implementing four fair information principles which FTC believes are widely accepted. Notice. Data collectors must disclose their information practices before collecting personal information from consumers. Choice. Consumers must be given options with respect to whether and how personal information collected from them may be used for purposes beyond those for which the information was provided. Access. Consumers should be able to view and contest the accuracy and completeness of data collected about them. Security. Data collectors must take reasonable steps to ensure that information collected from consumers is accurate and secure from unauthorized use. in addition, the survey looked at the use of third-party cookies by commercial web sites. Although FTC noted improvement over previous surveys, ft nonetheless concluded that the on-line industrys self-regulatory initiatives were falling short. As a result, a majority of the FTC commissioners, based on a 3 to 2 vote, recommended legislation to require commercial web sites not already covered by the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act COPPA to implement the four fair Information principles.
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