FTC Issues Final Privacy Report — Sets forth Best Practices, Calls for Legislation

On March 26, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change:  A Proposed Framework for Business and Policymakers,” in which it sets forth best practice recommendations for businesses that obtain consumer data–both online and online–and sketches out an active legislative and FTC workshop agenda on privacy for the remainder of 2012. In the Report, the FTC makes several adjustments to the privacy framework set out in the FTC staff’s December 2010 preliminary report on privacy, taking into account comments, the Administration White Paper and rapid policy developments since December 2010.

For companies that collect and use consumer data either online or offline, the Report establishes best practices based on three categories of privacy principles:  Privacy by Design (a label that covers a wide range of privacy practices to be implemented at every stage of the development and use of a product or service); simplified consumer choice; and transparency regarding data collection and use practices.  The Report both recommends that Congress adopt privacy legislation and urges industry to accelerate the implementation of self-regulatory measures. In the Report, the FTC also frames several issues on which it will hold workshops, including mobile privacy issues.

The Report signals the FTC’s continued emphasis on protecting consumer privacy.  Companies that collect data from customers and/or employees should take the opportunity review their current information collection, use, and disclosure practices. For additional information on the Report, please see the full story here.