FTC To Host Workshop on Cross-Device Tracking Nov. 16 #00003

Submission Number:
Raleigh Stout
North Carolina
Initiative Name:
FTC To Host Workshop on Cross-Device Tracking Nov. 16
This is in response to the question posed by the Federal Trade Commission regarding "What can be done to give consumers more control?" I feel strongly that all consumers are entitled to maximum control of any device that they operate, without back door operations under the control of another party. For example, consumers would be well served to have an accessible ON-OFF toggle switch on the device that powers it down and disables any tracking. A separate ON-OFF switch just for disabling and enabling tracking functionality would be a great plus in order to give maximum control to the consumer and user. There are too many Internet modems and routers out there that must be unplugged in order to power it off, rather like those handy appliances with the short cords we find in the kitchen. Such nuisances encourage consumers to either leave it unused and unplugged, or it encourages consumers and users to leave the device on for longer than necessary, which creates an added power bill and drain on the power budget and may even cause a fire if the device goes unattended. Again, give consumers their control and flexibility by including ON-OFF toggle switches or buttons in order to add privacy and safety to their devices. Another way to give consumers more control is to include a hard-wired option circuit that cannot be remotely changed. The local user, presumable the consumer, can enable or disable that option circuit based on his or her local needs. Let us not confuse the functionality of device tracking with device connections. Devices can connect just fine without the tracking, and they must not be modified to defeat a connection when tracking is not desired or permitted either by the consumer/user or by statute. Let us consider the privacy ramifications of tracking devices purchased by consumers that are intended to be used by their minor children or anyone else not informed on the original purchase. Such innocent persons must not be tracked for any purpose because such tracking would be implemented without their informed consent. Laws must support the innocent and give notice to the fact that many people, where minors or adults, whether of sound mind or not, cannot give informed consent when they are left unaware of hidden monitoring and tracking purposes. Does a consumer truly benefit from remote tracking by unknown entities? What is there were a better way to serve the consumer without all the pesky monitoring and tracking that the consumer cannot even begin to understand? If a manufacturer of a device wants to include a local "scan and connect" functionality in lieu of remote tracking or remote viewing of the device's data, then that would be much more preferable and agreeable to ensure the connectivity of the device and ensure basic privacy requirements of all the informed and even the uninformed who cannot give informed consent. Once we start codifying policies and laws that presume and assume the only way forward is to cave in to outrageous tracking interests of for-profit entities, then we will relinquish all our basic protections to personal liberty, privacy, and security. I implore the Federal Trade Commission to give the utmost in due professional care to the protection of consumers at home, on the road, at school, and in the workplace. Regards. +