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Consumers Union praises FTC privacy report

Monday, March 26, 2012

FTC Privacy Report: Statement by Consumers Union

WASHINGTON — Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, today praised the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the release of its final report on a framework for online privacy.
The FTC report calls for increased online privacy protections and oversight, including a renewed call for a “do not track” tool to tell marketers to stop tracking your Internet browsing. The report urges Congress to take up baseline privacy legislation, as well as targeted measures to give consumers access to personal information that is collected and sold by data brokers. The FTC also reiterated its commitment to data security legislation.Ioana Rusu, regulatory counsel for Consumers Union, said, “This is a good report that reflects the growing concerns about online privacy, especially the fact that we need better tools and information to decide how our personal information is used.”
Rusu said, “When we talk about online privacy, we’re talking about trust. A company needs customers to trust that their personal information is going to be treated with respect. If you don’t trust that a company is going to use your information responsibly, you’re going to be much less likely to adopt new services, and that hurts innovation.”
Rusu said she was particularly pleased that the FTC is specifically calling on lawmakers to pass a baseline privacy bill. “There are a lot of good initiatives in play that could help protect consumers’ privacy, but ideally, we need a law to make sure everyone is playing by the same rules.”
Rusu commended the authors of the FTC report for taking a close look at privacy on mobile devices, saying, “The market for mobile apps is exploding, and we clearly need to spell out the limits on the treasure trove of data that’s being collected by these apps. With this report, the FTC is really zeroing in on privacy concerns in this fast-growing space.”

Contact: David Butler, 202-462-6262