Commerce Department Launches Multistakeholder Process for Consumer Privacy Codes of Conduct
In response to the White House's February 23, 2012 release of Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting and Promoting Innovation in a Global Digital Economy ("Framework"), the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA") has issued a request for public comments on the consumer data privacy issues to be addressed through voluntary, yet legally enforceable, codes of conduct that implement the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights outlined in the Framework. NTIA is seeking comments from all interested stakeholders, including consumer groups, industry, academia, law enforcement agencies, and international partners. Comments are due on March 26, 2012.
Interested parties may submit comments on any consumer privacy-related topic, though NTIA's request indicates that the Framework's transparency principles in privacy notices for mobile applications ("apps"), particularly apps that feature location-based services, are among the agency's highest priorities. Other highlighted areas for comment include cloud computing, online services directed toward teens and children, trusted identity systems, and the use of technologies, such as browser-based cookies, to collect personal data.
NTIA also seeks comment on how the multistakeholder process can be structured to ensure openness, transparency, and consensus-building among a diverse group of interested parties. These comments represent the initial step of a process aimed at developing voluntary codes of conduct that will be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.