Protecting Consumer Privacy Online

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on April 1, 2010


At the third and final Federal Trade Commission Privacy Roundtable (held March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC), FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour stated emphatically: “Protecting consumer privacy is of utmost important. It must be a driving force for businesses in all stages of product and service development.” (See full transcript or web cast from Session 1 links.)

Privacy is one of the issues that TAP scholars have explored in great depth. Here is a sample of articles available on privacy and consumer protection.

In the area of consumers and consent, Joseph Turow, Deirdre Mulligan, and Chris Hoofnagle with Nathaniel Good and Jens Grossklags examine how consumers respond to privacy policies online in The FTC and Consumer Privacy in the Coming Decade. With their paper, Cookies and Web Browser Design: Toward Realizing Informed Consent Online, Edward Felten, Batya Friedman, and Lynette I. Millett propose that web browsers should be changed to give users more control of how information is used about them online.

A recent article from Federal Computer Weekly states that social media is now the more prevalent access point for cyber attacks. Examining just one social site, James Grimmelmann provides a comprehensive analysis of the law and policy of privacy on social network sites with Saving Facebook. Regarding privacy invasions from other users, Jonathan Zittrain proposes Internet users should discuss how to resolve conflicts over personal data shared between users online.

When it comes to storing personal information and content, Deirdre Mulligan has worked with colleagues to present two papers. In Storing our Lives Online: Expanded Email Storage Raises Complex Policy Issues, Professor Mulligan and Indrani Mondal and Ari Schwartz look at the privacy of email stored online. Regarding the security and privacy of data stored by businesses, Mulligan and Schwartz propose that United States privacy law should be updated to give more protection to information about consumers stored by businesses, including online services.