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[ The Creepy Factor ] aware of how closely their footsteps online are followed when information about something they were just discussing in a private email is used to generate an advertisement three or four page clicks later. Inside the Washington, D.C. beltway, it’s referred to as the “creepy factor,” according to Commissioner Julie Brill of the Federal Trade Commission. “I think it’s important to give consumers notice and choice about this practice,” Brill said during the law journal symposium in November. The FTC enforces limited Internet privacy laws and hunts data brokers violating laws in the fair credit reporting space. Brill said the commission has gone after companies that have taken more rigorous action, including a rent-to-own business that activated cameras on computers inside the homes of customers who were delinquent in payment. The FTC also is responsible for overseeing the companies that have volunteered to act on Do Not Track technology – a group that includes Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. “The ad industry did step up in that issue,” Brill said, “but we really have to get this message out about what you can and cannot do with consumers’ information.” In addition to data being collected about consumers in the background, Internet users are sharing personal information with a broader audience at a “staggering” rate, commented Woodrow Hartzog, a professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. “Social media is a threat to its users’ privacy and, in many cases, people who don’t use it.”


The U.S. and EU develop Safe Harbor Principles to satisfy protection requirements for transAtlantic data transfer. The seven principles cover notice, choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access, and enforcement. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission endorses the NAI’s



principles for privacy protection. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) becomes effective and aims to protect the collection of personal information from children under age 13. It includes specifications for seeking parental consent and restrictions on marketing to children.


The Department of Health and Human Services issues a final privacy regulation under HIPAA, which takes effect in 2003. President Clinton and Congress lean toward creating comprehensive online privacy legislation.

The first Privacy and Data Protection Summit is held in Arlington, Va. in May, organized by the Privacy Officers Association. The group joins others that same year to form what eventually becomes the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Palm, Inc. introduces the first smartphone in

the United States. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 cause a seismic shift in the debate of what Americans value more: privacy or security? The USA PATRIOT Act is signed into law in October. Among its many provisions is expanded use of National Security Letters and giving the

All Rise Winter 2013  

All Rise Winter 2013 - The Creepy Factor

All Rise Winter 2013  

All Rise Winter 2013 - The Creepy Factor