A Preliminary FTC Staff Report on "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers" #00220

Submission Number:
00220
Commenter:
Gerard Ashton
State:
Vermont
Initiative Name:
A Preliminary FTC Staff Report on "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers"

The list of proposed "commonly accepted practices" in V C 1 is deficient in not defining "consumer", too narrow in assuming that the consumer has sought goods or services from the business, and should be expanded to include public purposes even if there is no business relationship between the business collecting the data and the person described in the data. Public purposes may include land records used to determine ownership of land, improvements on land, land boundaries, and real estate tax information, building permits, and location data in emergency dispatching databases. The data to be collected may be specified by state and local government whether in real estate related laws and regulations, or standards of practice for engineers, architects, and skilled trades. The data may also be specified in standards from recognized standards-making organizations, whether public or private, such as the American Land Title Association. The lack of a definition of "consumer" leaves it unclear whether the framework applies only to persons engaging in a financial transaction with the business to be regulated, to those seeking pre-purchase information, to those seeking general information, or to those who have never interacted with the business to be regulated. As an extreme example, a child who has not yet learned to talk has never engaged in a financial transaction, and so could be excluded from the category "consumer".