Speaking at a recent privacy event, Federal Trade Commission member Julie Brill said that the agency’s forthcoming report on behavioral advertising will not recommend the enactment of new laws.
Instead, the report will focus on a new self-regulatory framework, with a focus on how companies can provide better notice to consumers and better protection for consumers’ privacy. “The Commission isn’t calling for regulation right now,” Brill said at a New York privacy conference, according to a report by Media Post. “We’re talking about a new self-regulatory framework.”
Brill suggested that the behavioral targeting industry should step up its privacy efforts by providing consistent and simplified notice about online tracking. Specifically, Brill said nutritional labels and the so-called “Schumer box” (the information box in credit card mailings about the cards’ terms, backed by New York Senator Chuck Schumer) were examples of notice that the FTC would support.
Speaking about the industry’s recent launch of a new behavioral advertising icon, Commissioner Brill said that the FTC plans to evaluate the self-regulatory initiative after the compliance efforts begin. At that point, the agency will assess the level of industry participation, whether or not consumers understand – and use – the opt-out mechanisms, and the level of enforcement. Brill also said she personally supported the development of a “do-not-track” registry similar to the federal Do Not Call list.
Why it matters: Commissioner Brill’s comments should quiet concerns that the FTC will push for privacy legislation. She emphasized that the agency supports self-regulation, albeit with expanded notice to consumers.