A Preliminary FTC Staff Report on "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers" #00240

Submission Number:
Heidi Jacobson
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 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) aims to construct parity between privacy interests of the people with cutting-edge change, which only the people's consumer information can relieve for the development of "beneficial new products and services." There will always be a 'catching up,' as consumer information in this data-driven age is never private. By law, perhaps, yes. Nevertheless, the availability of anything from a driver's license, an IP address, a credit card here, a social security number there, to even a 'new' social security number after some distressed case of id theft--the information is always in the background, in some database, within computers somewhere within the boundaries of that world we live in. "The proposed report also suggests implementation of a "Do Not Track" mechanism - likely a persistent setting on consumers' browsers - so consumers can choose whether to allow the collection of data regarding their online searching and browsing activities." This sounds nice, as people stay feeling safe. However, if one feels safe and knows to feel safe, there should be more so importance for a framework on a balance of education for 'defense.' How does one keep oneself knowledgeable about what to do in certain contexts, and what not to do in other contexts Example, just this past week I received a voicemail from a person who shall remain nameless, claiming to be from a government agency with whom I have been working somewhat closely with for the past year on a case lasting over four years or so. I was to call this person back. Never have I heard of the name, nor recognized the telephone number, but was quite concerned about the location from which the call came from. I knew right away what to do when I made the call back. However, this person eventually called me first, before I could return their message. "Hi this is blah blah blah from the blah blah blah blah and --. I am here today with Ms. Blah blah--." Immediately, as it is my right to do so and every American's right to do so let this person know: "Yes, I would be absolutely thrilled to answer any of your questions. They should pertain to this matter. If you could please just send me a letter in the mail, on letterhead from the [blah blah blah] with your name, contact information, all of your credentials, and any questions, etc. The person seemed not to hear me. The person kept talking, at the same time attempting to keep me on the line. I repeated myself about three times, enters a third person on the line of whom I was supposed to have known. I repeat myself one last time. I hear a dial tone. Quite obviously, these people were people not working for the governmental agency I have been working with and recently inquiring information from. In fact, likely they were not even from the 'opposing side,' if you will. Point being, the people, as the consumers who hold the information, have rights. We have rights and we have privileges. What concerns me here as I write is that too far too many people (and I am not speaking strictly children or the elderly or even disabled) do not even know the difference between a right and a privilege Let alone know what their very rights and privileges are! Knowingly above sounding Criminal Justice 101 trite, this is a quandary of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner-the chase will always go on, and both will continue to exist. We can create frameworks full of 'absurd contraptions and elaborate plans [in pursuit of our] quarry.' Deborah Meier, deemed an innovator in American education, has an interesting quote I this interesting: What I wanted was to create thoughtful citizens people who believed they could live interesting lives and be productive and socially useful." How to separate knowledge and awareness from business and politics is something I do not have an answer to. Perhaps we should stop learning at our 'Master's.' PhD.s are getting us too giddy for information we do not need. Just thinking.