A Guide to the FTC Mandates

It seems reminiscent of the Prohibition Era. The Federal Trade Commission is raiding the virtual coffers of suspected outlaw data traffickers, looking for licensing violations and assessing fines or enforcing settlements. During Prohibition there was a way out for luckless bar owners; locate to a state with liberal licensing laws and make friends with the Feds.

There is a way out for marketers as well; following the privacy guidelines in the FTC’s proposed privacy framework is a great guideline for getting on the right side of the Do Not Track and Privacy Bill of Rights argument. The principles contained in the framework are not law, as of yet, but they are indicative of what the FTC, and perhaps Congress, will use as a reference for codifying new privacy standards.
The FTC wants companies to make privacy policies that require companies to provide a description of their privacy practices that is succinct, easy to locate and in plain language. Consumers should be able to view the raw data collected about them and download or delete this data in some cases. They should be able to see clearly which companies are using their information and how. Companies that choose to offer opt-out would need to offer that choice before any data is provided by the consumer, even if they are an existing customer or fan.
These notice mandates would include all consumer use of applications and services delivered through third-party developers. This notice must occur each time the user interacts with a data driven application, even if that data exchange is automated. While it is unclear what final legislation will be, following these guidelines won’t leave your brand holding on to hopes that self-regulation will fly.
Read the entire FTC document here

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