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Re Advertising: Public Input on Online Privacy

In late February the Obama administration unveiled a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights,” drawn up by a U.S. Department of Commerce task force, based on principles including individual control, transparency, respect for context, and security. This Thursday, July 12th, the Department of Commerce will bring together companies, privacy advocates, academics, and other stakeholders in the first in a series of meetings to develop a code of conduct to address mobile app transparency aligned with the Bill of Rights. Adoption of the code would be voluntary, but companies that claim to be in compliance of any code of conduct are subject to Federal Trade Commission enforcement if that representation turns out not to be accurate, notes D. Reed Freeman Jr., a Morrison & Foerster partner focused on consumer protection law.

Any company that advertises or delivers advertising on the Internet will want to be involved in this discussion, Freeman says, whether directly or through their trade association. The process will be managed by Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration; the full report on the Bill of Rights is at Ntia.doc.gov. “Through a stakeholder-yielded code of conduct, the administration wants to allow for privacy protection for customers, but have it in a way that is flexible enough to respond to changing technologies and business practices,” Freeman says.

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