On Feb. 23, 2012, nine signatory organizations published a MultiStakeholder Principles designed to guide the NTIA MultiStakeholder Process, a self-regulatory process to develop voluntary codes of conduct with industry and civil society. The document states: “The US Department of Commerce is proposing a multi-stakeholder process for developing better applications of privacy principles. For the multi-stakeholder process to succeed, it must be representative of all stakeholders and must operate under procedures that are fair, transparent, and credible. We believe the following baseline principles will provide the multi-stakeholder process the legitimacy it needs to succeed.”
MultiStakeholder Privacy Principles — The World Privacy Forum has led an effort to craft a set of principles with the nation’s leading civil liberties, privacy, and consumer groups. Today, the groups are releasing a set of baseline Multi-Stakeholder Principles in response to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s plan for a multi-stakeholder process on privacy. (The U.S. Department of Commerce is undertaking a representative process for bringing together members of industry and civil society to form new privacy rules.) These leading groups believe that for the multi-stakeholder process to succeed, it must be representative of all stakeholders and must operate under procedures that are fair, transparent, and credible.
WPF filed two sets of comments with the US Department of Commerce regarding the MultiStakeholder Process and the privacy topics to be taken up. The first set of comments were WPF’s formal filing of the joint Civil Society MultiStakeholder Principles on behalf of WPF and the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers’ Union, Consumer Watchdog, Electronic Frontier Foundation, National Consumers’ League, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and US PIRG. The second set of comments were WPF’s own comments to the Department. WPF urged the Department to employ a fair process, choose focused topics, and to apply the full range of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to each topic.
This report is a landmark analysis and history of self-regulatory efforts in the area of privacy. The report is authored by Robert Gellman and Pam Dixon. It includes details about programs such as the IRSG, the Privacy Leadership Initiative, the Privacy Alliance, and other privacy self-regulatory programs.
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.  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.