Politics & Law

Commissioner Brill and privacy 3.0 at the CWAG privacy panel – Updated

Chris Hoofnagle

Important update included below

I had the honor of appearing with Attorney General Rob McKenna (WA), FTC Commissioner Julie Brill, AAG Shannon Smith (WA) and Professor Paul Ohm (University of Colorado Law School) at the annual meeting of the Conference of the Western Attorneys General. The video is now available. A summary of my presentation is here.

Far more important, however, was the discussion by Commissioner Brill on behavioral advertising and what the Federal Trade Commission should do to address it. The Commissioner explained that the FTC has undergone two stages of privacy approaches: privacy 1.0, the notice and choice approach, which relied upon fair information practices to address privacy; and privacy 2.0, the harm model which arose under the leadership of former Chairman Muris. She described the need for a privacy 3.0 to address the problem of behavioral advertising, because consumers do not understand the complicated decision making present in the background of interest-based advertising.

What will be in privacy 3.0? Brill gave some clues:

  • Privacy 3.0 will not make distinctions between PII and non-PII I overstated this. Commissioner Brill did not say that there would be no difference; she said that the FTC has realized that the difference between PII and non-PII is blurry. Approaches therefore, will not be as dependent on the PII distinction as current privacy laws are.
  • Privacy 3.0 will recognize that notice and choice was not enough, and emphasize “just in time” notices. That is, warnings that privacy is implicated at the time when consumers are taking steps that might result in new data collection or uses
  • Privacy 3.0 would benefit from simple, universal icons that signal important issues to users
  • Privacy 3.0 will focus on giving users notice of unexpected uses. Everyone expects Amazon.com to give users’ addresses to UPS in order to deliver a package. According to Brill, notices instead should focus upon highlighting other uses that might surprise the user

Stay tuned. In the next year, we’re likely to see significant public policy advances on online advertising.

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Comment to "Commissioner Brill and privacy 3.0 at the CWAG privacy panel – Updated":
    • C.C.

      I have a question about a particular website that’s sole purpose is to mine the data of unsuspecting citizens. The name of the site is blockshopper. Today I googled my name and the first two hits were links to an “article” about the recent purchase of my home. They posted my name, my husband’s name, the purchase price and a google map of our home. They also included detailed information about the sellers, including a complete professional biography, photo and link to her former employer’s site where they obtained the information. I would like to “opt-out”, but upon reading the site’s FAQ I’ve learned that they do not allow people to opt out. Would I have any legal recourse in this matter, or is what they are doing legal? I understand that all the data is public, but I still do not feel it is right for a corporation to mine my data, pay google to list it as the first two hits on my name and make money off of my personal information. If they want to list all the information except for my name, I am fine with that. However, I do not know where to start. Help?

      [Report abuse]

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