NTIA Requests Comments on Privacy Issues

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration has put out a request for public comment on what privacy issues warrant legally enforceable codes of conduct, suggesting mobile apps could be one of its first priorities.

NTIA says it wants to focus on a "definable area" of privacy, for example easily understood privacy and security policies of businesses, or "facilitat[ing] the implementation of the Transparency principle in the privacy notices for mobile device applications."

Other possible "definable areas" NTIA suggests it could focus on include cloud computing and online services directed to teens.

The White House has charged NTIA, its chief telecom policy advisor, with getting stakeholders together on a voluntary privacy bill of rights enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission. The White House is also looking to get legislative muscle behind the bill of rights, but in the meantime is pushing industry players to commit voluntarily. Violators of that commitment could then be the target of FTC action under its charter to go after "false and deceptive" claims.

Before NTIA convenes stakeholder meetings, it wants to hear from the public about what issues should be addressed and the procedure for coming up with the codes.

"At the request of the White House, NTIA will soon begin convening interested stakeholders -- including companies, privacy advocates, consumer groups, and technology experts -- to develop and implement enforceable codes of conduct that specify how the principles in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights apply in specific business contexts," said NTIA chief Lawrence Strickling in a blog post. "But first we want your input. We are seeking your views on what issues should be addressed through the privacy multi-stakeholder process and how to structure these discussions so they are open, transparent, and most productive."

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.