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Government slates meetings on mobile privacy standards

White House effort aims to bring industry, consumer groups to the table to jointly create new Internet privacy codes of conduct

June 29, 2012 02:51 PM ET

Computerworld - The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is set to host the first of several meetings seeking input for its effort to develop new codes of conduct for handling private consumer date on the Internet and mobile networks.

The meeting, scheduled for July 12 at the U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington D.C., is open to all and will focus primarily on mobile application privacy.

NTIA expects that the initial meeting will attract industry stakeholders, rights groups and Internet marketers looking to offer views on privacy issues related to the use, consumption and sharing of consumer data stored on mobile devices and shared by mobile applications.

The sponsored meetings over the coming months are designed to let stakeholders jointly develop Internet privacy codes that are acceptable to most privacy and consumer groups, Internet companies and online marketing firms.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be responsible for enforcing the codes of conduct that result from the multi-stakeholder effort.

The initiative stems from a 60-page Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights released by the Obama Administration in February.

The document spelled out proposals that would give consumers more control over how their personal data is collected, used, stored and shared by websites and online advertisers.

The White House created the document as part of an effort to require companies to limit their collection of personal data, to protect any sensitive data and to give consumers the right to access and to correct personal data collected by Internet companies.

The final document would provide consumers with clear and easily understandable information about their privacy practices. according to the White House plan.

Instead of calling for new privacy regulations, Obama's Bill of Rights proposed a multi-stakeholder process for developing broadly acceptable standards.

Reaction to the multi-stakeholder proposal has been mixed.

While privacy advocates and consumer rights groups have generally supported the effort, they have also expressed considerable skepticism over the process set out by the administration. Many say they fear that Internet companies will hijack the process and that the final document will provide few real privacy protections for consumers.



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