Data Brokers

WPF to speak at FTC Privacy Roundtable

FTC Privacy Roundtable — Thursday, January 28, WPF Executive Director Pam Dixon will be speaking at the FTC’s Privacy Roundtable about the privacy implications of digital signage networks and will be specifically discussing the new report: The One-Way Mirror Society: Privacy Implications of the New Digital Signage Networks. Few consumers, legislators, regulators, or policy makers are aware of the capabilities of digital signs or of the extent of their use. The technology presents new problems and highlights old conflicts about privacy, public spaces, and the need for a meaningful debate.

FTC Privacy Roundtable: WPF to testify on information brokers

FTC Privacy Roundtable — WPF executive director Pam Dixon will testify at the FTC Privacy Roundtable about information brokers and commercial data practices and they impact consumers. Dixon will be discussing the business models of data brokers, issues with smart grids, and opt-out problems, among other issues.

World Privacy Forum testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee

Congressional testimony — WPF executive director Pam Dixon testified at a joint subcommittee hearing focused on privacy and the collection and use of online and offline consumer information. Dixon’s testimony focused on the new “modern permanent record” and how it is used and created. Dixon said “The merging of offline and online data is creating highly personalized, granular profiles of consumers that affect consumers’ opportunities in the marketplace and in their lives. Consumers are largely unaware of these profiles and their consequences, and they have insufficient legal rights to change things even if they did know.” The testimony explored concrete examples of problematic consumer profiling activities.

Testimony: The Modern Permanent Record and Consumer Impacts from the Offline and Online Collection of Consumer Information

I am particularly interested in developments related to online and offline data flows of consumer information. Given the advances in technology that have significantly broadened and deepened the scope of consumer data collection practices, and given the new ways that these technologies and practices can shape and impact an individual’s experiences and opportunities, I believe the decisions that this Committee arrives at will be of lasting importance. Given the transition our society is undergoing from analog to digital, it is crucial to question what changes the new environment brings, what new controls it includes, and its meaning for our day-to-day lives. It is especially crucial to carefully examine and to discuss the effects these developments will have for the consumer. We must look for a fair balance between benefit, risk, and harm.

WPF files comments for FTC Roundtables on privacy standards, consumer expectations of privacy

FTC Privacy Roundtable — The World Privacy Forum filed comments last week for the FTC Privacy Roundtables, the first of which will be held December 7, 2009. The WPF comments urged the FTC to consider the Fair Credit Reporting Act as a key privacy model to apply to additional areas, to use the full version of Fair Information Practices, and discussed how a rights-based framework was the key to advancing consumers’ interests. The comments discussed list brokers at length, and explained how even the most informationally cautious consumer will land on numerous marketing lists and databases. The WPF comments noted that not all marketing lists are used to target ads to consumers; some lists and databases are used to deny consumers goods and services. The comments contain a detailed section on privacy frameworks, a section on direct marketing, and an appendix with supporting information.