A senior official at the Federal Trade Commission has hinted that the agency is planning to prod online advertisers and Web companies to adopt new education tools and data-collection restrictions in an effort to protect consumer privacy. As reported in this EcommerceGuide.com article, this fall, the commission is planning to release a report outlining a set of recommendations for Internet advertisers and Web companies to provide clearer notice about their data-collection practices and offer meaningful privacy safeguards.
"Right now the consumers really don't understand what's going on. So I think that is the real issue that needs to be addressed,' Loretta Garrison, a senior attorney at the FTC, said here at the O'Reilly Media Gov 2.0 Summit. 'We think they sort of know they're being tracked, but they don't really understand the wealth of information that's being collected and the many different parties that are involved and the various ways in which [information] is being used.'
"Garrison acknowledged that the commission is sensitive to the concerns expressed by members of the Internet industry about enacting overly restrictive rules in a marketplace evolving as rapidly as the online advertising sector, particularly when advertising revenue funds the bulk of the free content and services on the Web."