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World Privacy Forum files comments on government use of web tracking technologies

Online privacy and government web sites — The World Privacy Forum filed comments with the Office of Management and Budget regarding its proposal to begin to allow the use of tracking cookies on government web sites. The proposal was published in the Federal Register, and outlined a three-tiered plan for how web tracking technologies might be used. The Forum’s comments focused on methods of opt-out, data retention, secondary use, user authentication, new tracking technologies such as Flash cookies, and the need for new opt-out mechanisms. The Forum also urged the federal government to not allow third party tracking of consumers’ use of government web sites, and to guard against any discrimination against consumers who do not want to be tracked.

When opting out is hard to do: World Privacy Forum sends letter to FTC about data broker companies offering mail-based opt outs

Data broker opt out issue — The World Privacy Forum sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to look into four companies offering online consumers the ability to opt out, then asking those consumers to use a variety of postal-mail-based methods to do so.

New telemarketing rules take effect today: more power over pre-recorded telemarketing calls

Telemarketing | Top Ten Opt Out List — Beginning today, pre-recorded telemarketing phone calls must come with an easy opt-out for consumers. If a pre-recorded telemarketing call is left on an answering machine, it must also include opt-out information. These rules will apply to telemarketers already subject to the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and Do Not Call List. There are some exemptions to the rule. For more details about the changes, see our Top Ten Opt Out List, which has been updated with the new information.

Legal and Policy Analysis: Personal Health Records: Why Many PHRs Threaten Privacy

New publication | PHRs and privacy — The World Privacy Forum has published a new legal and policy analysis examining Personal Health Records — or PHRs — and the privacy issues associated with them. This analysis, Personal Health Records: Why Many PHRs Threaten Privacy, was prepared by Robert Gellman for the World Privacy Forum. The analysis finds that significant, serious threats to privacy exist in some PHRs.