From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Request for Industry Guidelines and Principles
AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.
ACTION: Notice requesting industry guidelines and principles regarding
online information practices.
SUMMARY: The Federal Trade Commission is currently preparing a report
to Congress on the effectiveness of self-regulation as a means of
protecting consumer privacy online. The Commission will report on the extent to which commercial Web sites, including sites directed to
children, are disclosing their information practices and offering consumers choice regarding the online collection and use of their
personal information. The Commission will also report its assessment of existing industry guidelines and principles on the online collection
and use of consumers' personal information. The Commission requests that interested trade associations and industry groups voluntarily
submit copies of their information practice guidelines and principles for inclusion in the Commission's report.
DATES: Copies of guidelines and principles must be submitted to the Commission on or before March 31, 1998.
ADDRESSES: Six paper copies of each set of guidelines or principles
should be submitted to: Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, Room H-
159, Sixth Street & Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20580. Submissions should be captioned as ``Privacy Guidelines 1998-P954807.'' To enable prompt and efficient review and dissemination of the guidelines or principles to the public, they also should be submitted,
if possible, in
electronic form, on either a 5\1/4\ or a 3\1/2\ inch computer disk,
with a disk label stating the name of the submitter and the name and
version of the word processing program used to create the document. Programs based on DOS or Windows are preferred. Files from other
operating systems should be submitted in ASCII text format to be accepted.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Martha Landesberg, Attorney, Division of Credit Practices, Federal Trade Commission, Sixth Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20580, telephone 202-326-2825, or Toby Milgrom Levin, Attorney, Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission, Sixth
Street & Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, telephone 202-326-3156.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Over the past three years the Federal Trade
Commission has held a series of public workshops devoted to the
consumer protection issues raised by the proliferation of consumers'
personal information on the Internet. Workshop participants have
included members of the online business community, privacy and consumer
advocates, and experts in interactive technology. In June 1996,
workshop participants discussed a wide array of subjects, including the collection and use of personal information on the World Wide Web (the
``Web''); the necessary elements of self-regulatory efforts to enhance consumer privacy online; developments in interactive technology that could enhance online information privacy; consumer and business education efforts; the role of government in protecting online
information privacy; and the special issues raised by the online collection and use of information from and about children. On January
6, 1997, the Commission published the staff report Consumer Privacy on the Global Information Infrastructure (1996), which summarized the
On March 6, 1997, the Commission published a notice in the Federal
Register announcing a follow-up workshop and seeking written commentary
on a number of relevant issues, including: (1) Web sites' current
actual practices in the collection, compilation, sale, and use of
consumers' personal information, including information about children; (2) current implementation of self-regulatory efforts to address online
privacy, including proposals presented at the June 1996 Workshop; and (3) current design and implementation of technologies intended to
enhance online information privacy. In June 1997, Commission staff convened a follow-up workshop designed to further develop the record on
these topics. The transcripts of the 1996 and 1997 workshops, the staff report Consumer Privacy on the Global Information Infrastructure
(1996), as well as the commentary submitted in connection with the 1997 workshop, are posted on the Commission's Web site at http://
The 1997 workshop demonstrated that consumers are deeply concerned about the privacy and security of their personal information in the online environment. Research presented at the workshop indicates that consumers are looking for greater protections. The workshop testimony showed that members of the online industry are aware of the need to address consumers' concerns. Throughout the series of Commission workshops on these issues, the online industry has argued that self- regulation is the most efficient and effective means of creating online privacy protections. Trade association representatives have made commitments to develop privacy policies as guidance for their members, and to encourage their members to post their own information practices on their Web sites.
The Commission is currently preparing a report to Congress on whether industry proposals demonstrated in the workshops have been
translated into broader industry progress toward effective self- regulation. In March 1998, Committee staff will survey commercial Web
sites to determine the extent to which these sites, including sites directed to children, are disclosing their information practices and
offering consumers choice regarding the collection and use of their personal information online. Staff will also assess existing industry
guidelines and principles regarding the online collection and use of consumers' personal information. Staff requests that interested trade
associations and industry groups submit their guidelines and principles on or before March 31, 1998 for inclusion in the report. The Commission will report its findings to Congress in June 1998.
Availability of Submissions
All guidelines and principles will be available for public
inspection in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C.
Sec. 552, and Commission regulations, 16 CFR part 4.9, on normal business days between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the
Public Reference Room 130, Federal Trade Commission, Sixth Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The Commission will make this notice and, to the extent technically possible, all submissions received in response to this notice, available to the
public through the Internet at the following address: http:// www.ftc.gov. The Commission cannot currently receive submissions
responding to this notice over the Internet.
Authority: 15 U.S.C. Secs. 41 et seq.
By direction of the Commission, Commissioner Azcuernaga not
Donald S. Clark,
[FR Doc. 98-5610 Filed 3-4-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-M