FTC Ponders Mobile, Online Privacy Disclosures

Cable operators looking at mobility as a big value added
will want to pencil in May 30 on their calendars. That is when the Federal
Trade Commission is holding its workshop on what privacy disclosures are
required for location-based and other online advertising.

Mobility was a hot topic on the Cable Show's opening day
with the news that Comcast, Bright House, Time Warner Cable, Cox and
Cablevision were launching a CableWiFi co-branding initiative to share their
some 50,000 hot spots, an effort given a shout-out by TWC chairman Glenn Britt
at Monday's opening session.

At Monday's opening session, Britt said that smartphones are
clearly one of the multiple screens in play for cable content, particularly
short form.

It will also be a hot topic at the FTC, as the commission
gets input on new guidelines for advertising and privacy disclosures for online
and mobile ads.

It has been a dozen years since the FTC first issues its Dot
Com Disclosures guidance. Since then, issues including location-based tracking
and fitting "short, effective, and accessible" on smartphones have
prompted the rethink.

The commission last May launched the effort to revise the
guidance, saying they would be necessary to reflect "dramatic"
changes since the guidelines were

The day-long workshop, which will be used to update that
guidance, will include online advertisers, federal and state officials,
activist group representatives. Among the panel topics are mobile advertising
disclosures, and mobile privacy disclosures, and social media advertising

Among the likely topics of discussion:

  • Effective disclosures on social media platforms.
    Appropriately, the FTC will be accepting input on that and other topics via its
    Facebook page;
  • Disclosures on mobile devices, including when used for
    texting, that limit the space for disclosure;
  • How to retain disclosures whey an ad is aggregated on a
    dashboard or retweeted;
  • How to disclose hyperlinks, hashtags, click-throughs, icons,
    and others; and
  • How to create "short, effective, and accessible"
    privacy disclosures on mobile devices.

Click here to check out the final agenda.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.