FTC report calls for privacy by design
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a set of guidelines on how companies should handle their consumers' privacy. The report is primarily designed for companies to use as a policy guideline but it also sets out recommendations for the US Congress to consider as the basis for future privacy laws. The Do Not Track system currently being developed by the W3C is an integral mechanism called for by the framework.
This report from the FTC comes about a month after a proposal by the White House to create a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" which also includes Do Not Track as part of its implementation. The Do Not Track standard, which was largely spearheaded by Mozilla, but was later adopted by other browser vendors as well, should be completed by the end of the year, according to the commission. The report commends the browser vendors and the Digital Advertising Alliance on the work already undertaken in this area.
Browser-level Do Not Track policies are only a part of the FTC's guidelines, though. The report also calls for more transparency from companies when handling customer data and for privacy to be implemented by design. The FTC recommends that "companies should build in consumers' privacy protections at every stage in developing their products. These include reasonable security for consumer data, limited collection and retention of such data, and reasonable procedures to promote data accuracy." The commission also calls for improved privacy on mobile devices, an area that Mozilla has also been working on.