Commentary

Rep Blackburn: FTC's Privacy Proposal Threatens 'Lifeblood Of Internet'

The same Republican lawmaker who is leading the fight against net neutrality regulations is also taking on the Federal Trade Commission's stance on online privacy.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) argues in a column that FTC "activists" are backing regulations that "would threaten the lifeblood of the Internet: data." She goes on to say that the FTC's proposal, which she calls a "government firewall," would "effectively require an 'opt-in' approach before users could gain access to the digital economy."

In reality, the FTC is supporting no such thing. The agency's report on privacy recommends that Web companies develop a universal do-not-track mechanism that would empower consumers to easily opt out of anonymous online tracking. The ad industry already says it supports the concept that Web users should be able to avoid online ad targeting -- though some Web companies say they want to be able to collect data for frequency capping, analytics or fraud prevention regardless of whether consumers opt out.

advertisement

advertisement

In other words, the FTC and the ad industry are not that far apart on privacy. The biggest difference right now stems from whether ad companies should be able to collect data from users who would prefer otherwise. Even that isn't insurmountable. A recent study by Stanford researchers showed that at least 10 companies -- BlueKai, Yahoo's Dapper, FetchBack, Google, Invite Media, Media6Degrees, Mediaplex, Quantcast, TidalTV, and YuMe -- already allow users to opt out of data collection.

2 comments about "Rep Blackburn: FTC's Privacy Proposal Threatens 'Lifeblood Of Internet'".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Evan Hendricks, August 20, 2011 at 6:44 p.m.

    A little digging will likely indicate which companies made campaign donations to Rep. Blackbunk and for how much she's willing to sell out her constituents' privacy. Like to see her explain this one at a town hall meeting; i.e., "that's right folks: I favor you having absolutely no say how companies exploit your data and good name because they donated my campaign a couple of grand$."

    Oh well, girl's gotta maka living ...

  2. Bradley Wellen, August 24, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.

    “With great power comes great responsibility” - A closer look at online privacy and the handling of personal data http://ow.ly/6bPaX.

Next story loading loading..