A Preliminary FTC Staff Report on "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers"
While a "Do Not Track" option in a browser is all good and well the FTC has not done enough to protect people's online privacy in a more comprehensive way. What is needed is strict rules that limit not only companies and private interests access to people's browsing habits and personal information but also policies that keep the government from doing the same thing. Another issue is the fact that once a company like Verizon has my social security number, which they require in order to set up an account, another dubious practice, there is no law stating they have to delete all of my information once I quit being a Verizon customer. I don't want some profit seeking company like Verizon being allowed to keep my personal info around forever, selling it to any third party who can get their hands on it. There needs to be limits to what companies can and can't keep around. Furthermore there needs to be strict fines or punishments for the usage of that data for purposes other then the setting up of the account or the rendering of services. I don't want my mailing address or phone number being sold to third parties without my express permission. That permission needs to be solicited not in the fine print but in a separate page with a check mark box asking if I would be willing to share that with the companies partners or affiliates. If I click NO, then that's that. If my number gets sold after that from that company they would have actively broken the law and could be fined or sued. This is where we as a nation need to be heading if we truly want internet privacy to be a reality. There needs to be clear cut laws that prevent my information from being stored without my approval. If it is to be stored because it is necessary to verify I am who I say I am it needs to be stored in an encrypted manner. Also there is no reason companies like Verizon should ever have my social security number, there are other ways to verify my identity. The only people who should be able to require me to submit a Social Security Number is the US Government, that it. While we can never completely control data once it gets out into the internet, we should be working to limit its dispersal by profit seeking entities who care nothing for my privacy.