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.
WPF report announcement — The World Privacy Forum’s newest report examines the privacy and confidentiality issues of cloud computing that have been largely overlooked to date. It is a thorough analysis with policy findings.
Privacy in the Clouds: Risks to Privacy and Confidentiality from Cloud Computing was written by Robert Gellman for the World Privacy Forum.
Cloud computing tips for consumers and business are also available.
OECD | Fair Information Practices — At a key meeting of the OECD on the future of the Internet economy, the OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria reaffirmed support of the 1980 OECD Privacy Principles. Also, Secretary General Angel Gurria expressed support for formalizing the participation of civil society in OECD going forward and for paying more attention to information security and identity theft problems. Secretary General Gurria noted that “A more decentralised, networked approach to policy formulation for the Internet Economy that includes the active participation of stakeholders needs to be the norm.” Many parts of the recent OECD meeting may be viewed online.
Consensus document | Consumer rights and protections — Nine privacy and consumer groups, including the World Privacy Forum, unveiled a consensus document outlining key consumer rights and protections in the behavioral advertising sector. The document is directed toward the Federal Trade Commission, and urges the FTC to take proactive steps to adequately protect consumers as online and other forms of behavioral tracking and targeting become more ubiquitous. The consensus document was filed with the Secretary of the FTC and its commissioners. Behavioral advertising is the focus of the FTC’s eHavioral Advertising Town Hall meeting taking place November 1-2 in Washington, D.C. The network advertising sector has a self-regulatory plan, the Network Advertising Initiative, in place, and has had this plan in place since 2000. The consensus document addresses the many areas where the NAI plan has failedto protect consumers.
Consumer tips on managing cookies — Some computer cookies are harmless, but others can track your moves across many Web sites, eventually building a detailed history of your preferences. The good news is that you can manage these persistent tracking cookies to some degree. To do this, you need to know how to say no to the third party tracking cookies you don’t want while still allowing yourself to say yes to the cookies you do want. There are several ways to do this. One way is to download “opt-out cookies.” Another way is to use your browser’s cookie management tools to manage your cookies. Another method is to regularly delete unwanted cookies. In some cases, you can stop tracking through account preferences at some web sites.