The World Privacy Forum filed comments with the U.S. Department of Commerce in response to its Request for Comments about big data, privacy, and the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The White House Big Data report recognized that Big Data “raises considerable questions about how our framework for privacy protection applies in a big data ecosystem” and has the potential to “eclipse longstanding civil rights protections in how personal information is used in housing, credit, employment, health, education, and the marketplace.” This is among our concerns as well, and our comments focused on understanding big data’s benefits while drawing attention to where there are significant privacy risks that need to be addressed.
Mobile Privacy — The World Privacy Forum attended the NTIA Multistakeholder meeting as one of the core drafters of the code of conduct being considered by the NTIA Multistakeholder process. WPF and the other drafters are accepting comments from all stakeholders in preparation of the next iteration of the draft.
July 11, 2012 San Diego, California — Today the World Privacy Forum published a comment essay by executive director Pam Dixon urging all privacy stakeholders to focus on the consumer during the Commerce Multistakeholder privacy process, set to get underway tomorrow. “We must put the consumer first and focus on what is important,” said Pam Dixon.
Mobile privacy — Mobile app privacy is the topic of the multistakeholder process to be undertaken this week under the direction of the US Department of Commerce. Over the weekend, a NYT article revealed that mobile carriers received more than 1.3 million requests by law enforcement for mobile data, including requests for text messages. This article is a focusing event. It is a reminder that in mobile privacy we need to put the consumer first, focus on what is important, and apply responsibility for privacy and transparency throughout the hierarchy of mobile players, from carriers to platforms to app stores to publishers to developers. It is unclear yet what segments of the hierarchy require what amounts of the burden, but what is clear is that carriers will certainly need to do a lot. It is also clear that the idea of just an icon on a screen to communicate the idea of mobile privacy to consumers is a band-aid approach at best when faced with the truth of where some of the real risks are for consumers.
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.