FTC Urges Web Browser Companies to Give Consumers Privacy Options

By Tracey E. Schelmetic March 27, 2012

You know your browser spies on you...right?

As users merrily surf the Web, it collects a tidy pile of information about them: what sites they visit, how long they spend there, what they click on, what they download, what videos they view and what search terms they enter. While it’s typically riled privacy advocates and the paranoid, more Americans are paying attention.

And the Federal Trade Commission FTC) has apparently had enough.

After receiving its long-awaited report on consumer privacy, the FTC now calls for designers’ Web browsers to behave and cease allowing Web sites to help themselves to sensitive data about users. The federal agency is also putting forth recommendations for the telecommunications industry to improve user privacy and self-regulation, according to Mashable.

In its recommendation, the agency commended the steps taken to protect consumer privacy so far, including “tools that consumers can use to signal that they do not want to be tracked," such as Google Chrome's “Incognito” mode and Firefox for Android, allowing users to switch into a “Do Not Track” mode.

But it pointed out the industry still has a long way to go.

“If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices – and many of them already have – they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz. “We are confident that consumers will have an easy-to-use and effective “Do Not Track” option by the end of the year, because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don't.”

Consumer Watchdog, a privacy advocacy group, praised the agencies’ “Do Not Track” efforts.

While right now the recommendations are just that – recommendations – companies would be wise to heed them. Unheeded warnings from the FTC have a way of turning into forcible regulations.




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Modern Moms Shaping Influence

By: Maurice Nagle    7/19/2018

Everyone knows Mom knows best. The internet is enabling a new era in sharing, and sparking a more enlightened, communal shopping experience. Mommy blo…

Read More

Why People Don't Update Their Computers

By: Special Guest    7/13/2018

When the WannaCry ransomware attacked companies all over the world in 2017, experts soon realized it was meant to be stopped by regular updating. Even…

Read More

More Intelligence About The New Intelligence

By: Rich Tehrani    7/9/2018

TMC recently announced the launch of three new artificial intelligence events under the banner of The New Intelligence. I recently spoke with TMC's Ex…

Read More

Technology, Innovation, and Compliance: How Businesses Approach the Digital Age

By: Special Guest    6/29/2018

Organizations must align internally to achieve effective innovation. Companies should consider creating cross-functional teams or, at a minimum, incre…

Read More

Contribute Your Brain Power to The New Intelligence

By: Paula Bernier    6/28/2018

The three events that are part of The New Intelligence are all about how businesses and service providers, and their customers, can benefit from artif…

Read More