David Vladeck, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission, today provided a high-level outline of the Commission’s forthcoming report on the future of privacy.
Speaking at the 32nd International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Jerusalem, Vladeck said the report reflected two broad conclusions. First, current privacy law places too much burden on consumers to read and understand privacy notices and make privacy choices. The second conclusion is that there is a pressing need to reexamine the conception of “harm” in U.S. law to move beyond only economic and physical harms.
According to Vladeck, the Commission’s report offers three tentative recommendations based on these conclusions. Businesses need to:
- Do more on the front end to preserve privacy.
- Better align their data practices with consumers’ reasonable expectations, for example, by avoiding practices that consumers don’t anticipate or that are inimical to their interests.
- Be more transparent in their data collection and use practices, for example, by providing short, concise, just-in-time notices that clearly indicate who is collecting data, what data are being collected, and for what purposes.
Vladeck concluded by noting that the draft report contains a “last plank on consumer education,” highlighting the need for both business and government to educate consumers about privacy protections and risks.
The FTC report, which follows the Commission’s three workshops on privacy, is expected out by Thanksgiving.