Big Change Proposed for Privacy Notices

In today’s coverage of the new FCC online privacy report, much of the focus has been on Microsoft and other browser providers offering a “do not track” feature so that online advertisers can’t so easily collect data on consumers.  However, an even more radical suggestion is “real time” privacy notices to consumers about how their personal information will be used.

When looking at these issues, I often turn to the Information Law Group which provides thorough and engaging analysis.  One of the issues they point out is as follows:

For example, to facilitate meaningful choice, the FTC is recommending just-in-time concise notice and choice at the data collection point or before a consumer accepts a product or service.

This is a potential big change from the current model which just tell you that by obtaining the product or service you have accepted the website’s privacy policy.  You aren’t shown the policy in most cases and even if you were, you wouldn’t understand it.  The FCC is suggesting a change in both those conditions – that you see the policy before signing up and that it be easy to understand.

This could be controversial because when consumers realize the privacy they are giving away, they maybe less willing to proceed with the transaction.

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