In 2012, the US Federal Trade Commission brought a remarkable case against Equifax for selling consumer financial information — which included credit scores and late mortgage payment information– to companies offering services to consumers in financial distress. The World Privacy Forum commented to the FTC on this case, which was important for a number of reasons.
Arizona School of Law — Pam Dixon participated as a discussant and contributor to the Arizona School of Law’s private workshop on the topic of the future of privacy. Key areas of discussion included the European Union’s Right to be Forgotten proposal, consent and health privacy, and Do Not Track.
March 26, 2012 San Diego, California — The World Privacy Forum strongly supports the idea of a centralized opt-out site for data brokers. “A centralized data broker opt out would ideally function like a Do Not Call list for consumers,” said Pam Dixon. “The idea is that consumers can readily find the data brokers, and
Data Broker opt out — WPF, in 2011 comments to the FTC, urged the FTC to create a centralized place for consumers to opt-out of data broker tracking. This is a long-standing issue WPF has worked on. Previously, WPF filed a petition in 2009 to the FTC regarding mail-in data broker opt outs, which resulted in an FTC action and improvements for consumers. In its new report published today, the FTC has picked up WPF’s centralized opt out recommendation, specifically citing WPF’s comments. From its report: “The Commission recommends that the data broker industry explore the idea of creating a centralized website where data brokers that compile and sell data for marketing could identify themselves to consumers and describe how they collect consumer data and disclose the types of companies to which they sell the information.” The WPF strongly supports this idea and views assistance to consumers in this area as vital.
The FTC’s new privacy report — a long -awaited planbook for privacy in the digital age – has picked up several key recommendations the WPF has made. First, the report picks up WPF’s direct recommendation in its 2011 comments that the FTC set up a centralized web site to allow consumers to opt out of data brokers. The FTC has directly called for this as a primary part of its report. The WPF strongly supports this. Pam Dixon of the WPF originated the Do Not Track idea in 2007, and with a group of privacy experts, submitted the original idea to the FTC that year. Now, DNT has also made it into the final FTC report.