At the Wired for Change conference earlier this week, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz noted that the FTC is developing a “nutrition label” for data collection and use, modeled after the nutrition facts label for food and beverages.  Leibowitz reportedly said that the agency’s chief technologist and the Bureau of Consumer Protection are working to identify “five essential terms” that should be included in these standardized privacy policies.  California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who spoke on the same panel as Leibowitz, supported the idea of food labels for mobile apps, according to reporters’ tweets

The concept of a nutrition label for privacy has been under discussion in the privacy community for some time.  In July 2001, FTC Commissioner Sheila Anthony suggested that nutrition labels and EnergyGuide labels could serve as models for standardized privacy policies.  Several academics have developed standardized table formats for privacy policies, and research from Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab has found that standardized privacy policy formats allow readers to find information more accurately and quickly. 

Continue Reading FTC Working on Privacy “Nutrition Label”; Industry Focusing on Icons

Yesterday, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing entitled , “Understanding Consumer Attitudes About Privacy.”  The hearing featured a single panel with a mix of industry representatives and consumer privacy advocates, including representatives from Intuit, Microsoft, the Digital Advertising Alliance, Evidon, and the World Privacy Forum. 

A primary focus of the hearing was the efficacy of industry self-regulatory initiatives and other efforts to provide consumers with information and choices about managing their online privacy.  In particular, members expressed interest in the “About Ads” self-regulatory principles for online behavioral advertising and other company-specific efforts to provide consumers with notice and choice. 

Continue Reading Bono Mack Holds Hearing About Consumer Privacy Expectations