FTC Privacy Workshop: Summary of Harbour & Vladeck Remarks

by on January 28, 2010 · 0 comments

I’m attending the FTC’s 2nd “Exploring Privacy” roundtable event, which is taking place at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law.  Here’s the agenda. (I’ll be live Tweeting @AdamThierer). FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour &  FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director David Vladeck kicked things off. Here’s a quick summary of their remarks:

  • Data collection has vast opportunities but drawbacks also
  • “non-price dimensions” of privacy important
  • Talking about recent Facebook privacy changes
  • Privacy is not “over” as McNealy once said; recent public outcry about Facebook changes make that clear
  • “delicate balance” between data collection and consumer control
  • Concerned about privacy in the mobile environment
  • “Apple could do more to require baseline level of privacy disclosures”; other could set such defaults too
  • Similar fears about privacy in the cloud; difficult for consumers to define privacy expectation in the cloud; fear of lock-in concerns
  • Wants more data portability
  • Concerned that anonymization doesn’t work good enough; Perhaps our faith in current technologies is misplaced
  • Must address the question of privacy by design sooner rather than later

David Vladeck, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC

  • Discusses lessons from FTC December workshop…
  • Consumers have little understanding of data collection practices, both offline & online
  • Privacy policies written by lawyers not effective communications tools for consumers
  • Consumers uncomfortable with behavior advertising
  • AdBlock Plus is most popular Firefox download
  • #1 most emailed article on New York Times recently was about how consumers can protect privacy on Facebook
  • We should encourage more technological innovation to empower people to do what they want to do and learn about data
  • Technology raises public policy concerns, however
  • “a troubling technological arms race” between consumer empowerment tools and technologies that allow greater data collection
  • New concerns about social networking, mobile environment, location-based services;
  • How well do disclosure policies work on small mobile screens?
  • Need to bake-in privacy upfront

Previous post:

Next post: