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Federal Trade Commission explores new privacy regulations

During the past four months, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a series of daylong roundtables to examine the privacy challenges created by new technology. Part of the discussion focused on the business practices of data brokers, particularly how consumer information is used. As the FTC continues to explore regulation aimed at consumer data, the commission needs to consider important fraud prevention practices.

The goal of the discussions was to determine how best to protect consumer privacy while supporting the beneficial uses of information and technological innovation. The roundtables covered a wide range of topics — from social networking to online advertising and mobile marketing — and brought together representatives from business, academics and consumer groups. The practices of data brokers and the regulations surrounding the use of consumer information were included in much of the discussion.

For many attendees, there was no distinction among the roles of various data brokers. As a result, some argued for broad regulations to apply to all. In remarks before FTC staff, representatives from consumer groups argued for new regulations that provide for access to data and new restrictions on data use. For example, some consumer and privacy activists are seeking to designate Internet Protocol addresses as personally identifiable, which may allow consumers to choose how their information is collected and shared with third parties.

The FTC is now working on a report that will outline the issues and concerns raised during the meetings and make a number of recommendations for Congress to consider when drafting new privacy laws. Experian® continues to educate policymakers at all levels of government about the importance of preserving certain fraud prevention practices.


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