FTC Discusses Privacy Framework Via Facebook Chat [UPDATED]

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission used a live Facebook chat as part of the government’s roll-out of a new privacy framework.

The FTC did acknowledge that Facebook has already modified its privacy policies.

The agency’s revised guidelines can’t be enforced unless lawmakers turn them into legislation, which certainly could happen in the future.

Meanwhile, the FTC made three broad recommendations:

  • Privacy by Design: Companies should build in consumers’ privacy protections at every stage in developing their products. These include reasonable security for consumer data, limited collection and retention of such data, and reasonable procedures to promote data accuracy.
  • Simplified Choice for Businesses and Consumers: Companies should give consumers the option to decide what information is shared about them, and with whom. This should include a “do-not-track” mechanism that would provide a simple, easy way for consumers to control the tracking of their online activities.
  • Greater Transparency: Companies should disclose details about their collection and use of consumers’ information, and provide consumers access to the data collected about them.

Since the FTC’s first draft of the report almost two years ago, Facebook settled charges with the commission that the company failed to protect consumer data.

The settlement of an eight-count complaint requires Facebook to warn users about privacy changes and to get their permission before sharing their information more broadly. Facebook also agreed to 20 years of privacy audits.

Facebook addressed user concerns on its own by making privacy controls much more prominent, and giving consumers greater access and control over how they share information on the social networking site.

Facebook received fresh scrutiny from European regulators and analysts late last week over tweaks the company made to the language in the terms of service, including making a seemingly small title change from privacy policy to data use policy.

The fact remains that any changes initiated by Facebook regarding the site’s privacy language is likely to draw the ire of consumer advocates somewhere around the world.

However, once Facebook completes its initial public offer, the company will have to become even more transparent over how it handles user data.

Readers, do you think the FTC’s recommendations should become law?

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Marketing with Facebook Insights

Marketing with Facebook InsightsStarting October 2, learn how to use Facebook's analytics tool to track and optimize your marketing efforts! Taught by the group marketing manager of social media at Microsoft/BingAds, Geoffrey Colon will show you how insights works, how to measure key performance indicators, and make your data actionable. Register now!