Cloud of Criticism Surrounds the Commerce Online Privacy Report

  • Date: December 29, 2010
  • Source: Admin

 Privacy advocates criticized the U.S. Department of Commerce’s call on self-regulation for the online ad industry and the proposed "safe harbor" from the enforcement actions of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The new report calls for a "Dynamic Privacy Framework" that would revitalize Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs). The paper recommends the creation of a Privacy Policy Office within the Commerce Department that would help develop voluntary privacy codes of conduct within a multi-stakeholder negotiation process.

The report drew flak due its shortfalls on the two areas, though some privacy advocates acclaimed the recognition of privacy issues. Many of the concerns surround the enormous gap between consumer privacy expectations and business reality in the online environment, where the general public is subjected to hidden tracking devices that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. The Commerce Department strongly supports greater adherence to the well-known Fair Information Practice Principles.

It also discusses the need to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy (ECPA) Act since cloud computing has drastically risen, and law enforcement agencies are concerned with data stored or traversing by service providers, keeping in line with the goals of the Digital Due Process coalition that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is helping to steer.

Digital Due Process coalition

The "Digital Due Process" coalition includes major Internet and telecommunications companies like Google, Microsoft, and AT&T as well as advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). The coalition has joined together to preserve traditional privacy rights and clarify legal protections in the face of a rapidly changing technological landscape.

Electronic Communications Privacy Act

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 was enacted by the United States Congress to extend government restrictions on wire taps from telephone calls to include transmissions of electronic data by computer. The ECPA has come under a cloud of criticism over the years including its failure to protect all communications and consumer records. Under the ECPA, a governmental agency can easily demand consumer data stored on servers from service providers with a written statement certifying that the information is relevant to an investigation of foreign counterintelligence with no judicial review required.



Best Sellers
You Recently Viewed