Online Privacy

Report: Many Failures: A Brief History of Privacy Self Regulation | Section: Introduction and Summary

Current online privacy debates focus on respecting the privacy interests of Internet users while accommodating business needs. Formal and informal proposals for improving consumer privacy offer different ideas for privacy regulation and privacy self-regulation, sometimes called codes of conduct. [1] Some in the Internet industry continue to advance or support ideas for privacy self- regulation. Many of these same players proposed and implemented privacy self-regulatory schemes that started in the late 1990s.

Report: Many Failures: A Brief History of Privacy Self-Regulation | Section: Industry-Supported Self-Regulatory Programs for Privacy

This section offers a historical review of privacy self-regulation that occurred in the years just before and just after 2000. For a variety of reasons, it is not necessarily fully comprehensive. Some self-regulatory efforts may have disappeared without a trace. Activities within existing trade associations are difficult or impossible to assess from evidence available to those outside the associations. However, this discussion captures the leading organizations of the time. [13]

Report: Many Failures: A Brief History of Privacy Self-Regulation | Section: Government Privacy Self-Regulatory Activities

This section reviews several other privacy self-regulatory activities that share some characteristics with the industry self-regulatory programs discussed above, but these activities differ in various ways. The most noticeable differences are the role of the government in the programs. The Department of Commerce is involved in the Safe Harbor Framework, and the Federal Trade Commission is involved in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Report: Many Failures: A Brief History of Privacy Self-Regulation | Section: Conclusion

Is there any reason to think that privacy self-regulation will work today when it did not work in the past? Privacy self-regulation done in the same way that it has been done in the past, without sufficient consumer participation, and with the same goals of simply evading real regulation and effective privacy controls will continue to fail.