FTC: Consumer Privacy System Is Broken

Citing lengthy privacy policies, confusing information about how personal data is used, and a lack of transparency in behavioral marketing campaigns, Maneesha Mithal of the Federal Trade Commission declared the current Internet consumer privacy system “broken,” and said the agency is working on a series of recommendations to help fix it.

At the Consumer Reports “Social Insecurity” event held earlier today in New York, Mithal cited a series of roundtables held over the past several months, where the FTC queried consumers about privacy issues. In the sessions, consumers expressed concerns about how their data is used by companies, and told the agency that — surprise — young people actually do care about their privacy.

Mithai suggested several ways to improve the current system, including providing privacy information directly in conjunction with online transactions (rather than just through long and confusing privacy policies). The FTC’s final recommendations are expected later this summer.

Exploring Privacy: A Roundtable Series [FTC]