Skip to main content

Privacy Groups Push FTC For National Privacy Plan

Consumer privacy groups want the Federal Trade Commission to come up with a privacy rights plan similar to the FCC's comprehensive National Broadband Plan.

The FTC has held consumer privacy workshops toward the end of producing a report this fall, and groups including the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumers Union, ACLU, the Benton Foundation and Public Citizen want bold statutory and regulatory recommendations.

In a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, they asked the commission to 1) come up with a comprehensive privacy law that spells out consumer rights to personal information, 2) come up with specific regulations for information collection online by the ad industry, 3) look at location-based targeting and digital signage, and 4) make it easier for the public to understand the commission's enforcement actions and their significance. 

"We believe a comprehensive overview of the problems and discussion of the potential solutions - similar to the recent Federal Communications Commission Broadband Plan - is the best way to begin to address these systemic problems," they wrote.

"This letter is intended to signal the commission that consumer and privacy groups expect the agency to act boldly to protect American consumers," said Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy. Chester was one of the first privacy advocates to focus on online marketing, targeting and data collection as a media concentration issue.

Others signing on to the letter were Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Essential Information, National Consumers League, Privacy Lives, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Privacy Times, US PIRG, and the World Privacy Forum.

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.