FTC To Host Workshop on Cross-Device Tracking Nov. 16 #00002

Submission Number:
Raleigh Stout
North Carolina
Initiative Name:
FTC To Host Workshop on Cross-Device Tracking Nov. 16
I support all efforts by the Federal Trade Commission to ensure a safe and vibrant marketplace for all consumers under its jurisdiction. With regard to consumer choice, I feel that FTC must ensure that consumers have a timely opportunity afforded to them by all vendors and merchants to get firsthand information before they are called to act on a purchase decision. My idea is that consumer choice fails when the consumer does not have sufficient information to act on a choice by informed consent. Finding out undesirable details long after the choice is made is happening far too often, and this always favors the seller and the consumer loses money, rights, or both. In this scenario, there is never any true consumer choice. This forms the basis of my concerns about tracking of consumers across multiple devices that access the Internet. Is the Internet truly neutral when businesses, investors, speculators, and marketers gain access to information that the average Internet user does not have? And as this happens, does the consumer ever get informed quickly enough to make an informed choice about his or her privacy and civil rights? Consider whether consumers really benefit from all this for-profit tracking, and how the data will ultimately be used. Will the data holders favor themselves and any federal interest tracking over the consumer who pays for products and services being delivered to them? Does the consumer ever learn about law enforcement usage of such tracking data, and whether a government entity at any level pays these for-profit interests for such tracking data? Does it mean nothing that the consumer pays for a specific product and service and then risks being tracked despite the merchant selling them something? Where is the obligation to the consumer and patron with regard to the entities who takes the consumer's money? Do merchants and marketers not owe some loyalty to their paid consumers and customers with regard to privacy of the transaction and the privacy of locational and Internet tracking information? I do not like the mixed message that emerges here, that whether the constituents, consumers, taxpayers, and voters pay, that they must presume and assume that they have no expectation of privacy to include tracking across multiple Internet devices. Big Data is good for the consumer why? Consumers would be better served to enter by informed consent into an agreement with the trackers and data aggregators only when they are paid a compensation for all this trouble and back door behind-the-scenes monitoring and tracking. If it is good enough for the for-profit interests to get involved in monitoring and tracking United States persons and entities that use the Internet, then why cannot the real people who do the communicating with their elected officials, and why cannot those who consume in the marketplace, and why cannot those who pay taxes every day and every year, and why cannot those who vote for their elected representatives, stand to be included in all the financial rewards and benefits that the aforementioned for-profit interests are pursuing? Let us keep our eye on the ball people and never diminish the liberties and the rights of the persons who you take your money from, to include consumers to be protected by the Federal Trade Commission and other government entities. This sounds like another opportunity to legitimate for profit the degradation and removal of consumer rights, which ultimately affect the whole of constituents, consumers, taxpayers, and voters. In other words, I am concerned about a blatant power grab that is being marketed under a different vision, that of benefits to consumers. This is the ultimate trickery and deception that entities like the Federal Trade Commission are supposed to be protecting us all from in the first place. Regards. +