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LawCrossing Legal Daily News Feature

FTC Wants Internet Data Trading Regulated for Transparency by Surajit Sen Sharma

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission requested Congress to formulate Internet privacy laws that would compel data traders and brokers to reveal the nature of the data on consumers that they are into sale and purchase. FTC has submitted an in-depth report that includes suggested measures like self-regulation by businesses, but did not come out in support of laws mandating anti-tracking buttons. The FTC report follows the trend of suggestions made by the White House last month and reaffirms the consensus that stronger regulations are needed to protect the online privacy of consumers and internet users.


like Lexis Nexis and Choicepoint – who acquire data that has been collected online and merge the same with

The FTC has been active over

offline documents to create reports upon consumers.

the past couple of years in cornering social media giants over abusive use of user

The report mentioned that the brokers “sell a wealth of

data. Companies like Google and Facebook have come

highly personal information about consumers but never

under heavy scrutiny and applications in new platforms

interact directly with them … Consumers are often

like the iPhone and iPad have been found abusive of

unaware of the existence of these entities, as well as

user rights and reprimanded.

the purposes for which they collect and use data.”

However, instead of resentment, internet data traders

According to the FTC, a consumer should have

are actually desirous of having the suggestions of

discretion and control over the publication of his/her

FTC passed, as it would then assure them of the legal

data portraits published by agencies not authorized

standings of their own activities – what they can and

to do so by the consumer. The FTC also suggested

cannot do. Right now, most internet data traders

strongly that data brokers be compelled to reveal their

and brokers are unsure of the issues surrounding

practices and methods of data-collection.

their business activities, and firm and transparent regulations in place would assure them of the limits to

The Digital Advertising Alliance, representing the

which they may use consumer data.

biggest majority of Web advertisers, has promised to offer anti-tracking icons by the end of this year, and to

As FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz told the media during

work with the Commerce Department, FTC and private

a news conference, the FTC wanted “no to erect a stop

advocates to create the technology.

light, (but to) take a closer look at traffic patterns.” But the FTC has warned that if businesses do not come The FTC report focused heavily on the need for

up with self-regulatory mechanisms within the year

companies to be transparent about their methods of

then it would push for laws. While the FTC has little

data collection and the use of the collected data. The

power to create laws, it has the authority to enforce

report also asked for specific legislation on data brokers

laws set by the Congress. And they are serious.


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LawCrossing Legal Daily News Feature

Leibowitz told the media, “We are confident that

companies are moving forward expeditiously to make

consumers will have an easy-to-use and effective

it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact

do-not-track option by the end of the year because

legislation if they don’t.”


FTC Wants Internet Data Trading Regulated for Transparency  
FTC Wants Internet Data Trading Regulated for Transparency  

The Federal Trade Commission has requested Congress to make laws on Internet privacy that will make it mandatory for data traders and broker...