FTC Issues Preliminary Privacy Report, Seeks Comment from Stakeholders

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s recently proposed framework for offline and online businesses and policymakers may have a significant impact on entities that collect, maintain and use consumer data. The deadline for public comment is January 31, 2011.

On December 1, 2010, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its long-awaited preliminary privacy report Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change. As the culmination of three public consultations, the report proposes a new framework for offline and online businesses and policymakers, including Congress, as to how consumers’ privacy should be protected. The revised framework is intended to guide Congress as they contemplate potential laws, as well as steer industry toward developing stronger self-regulations. Some consumer advocacy groups believe the report could be more robust, while businesses are grappling with the impact the proposed framework will have on their bottom line. The report poses a number of questions on which the FTC is seeking public comment by January 31, 2011.

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