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.
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.
Madrid Declaration — A significant civil society document with more than 100 signatories worldwide has been published in conjunction with the 31st annual meeting of the International Conference of Privacy and Data Protection Commissioners. The document, known as the Madrid Declaration, affirms support for the complete canon of fair information practices as expressed by the OECD, affirms support of privacy as a fundamental human right, and warns that “the failure to safeguard privacy jeopardizes associated freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of access to information, non-discrimination, and ultimately the stability of constitutional democracies.”
Information about fair information practices.