On Friday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) released a discussion draft of a bill for mobile privacy. Named the Application Privacy, Protection and Security Act of 2013 (“APPS Act”), the bill would obligate app developers to disclose to users the terms and conditions around the collection, use, storage, and sharing of user data. Additionally, the bill would require apps to allow users to opt out of the service and delete personal data collected by the app. The Federal Trade Commission would head enforcement and state attorneys general could bring suits against those who violate the regulations promulgated by the FTC.

 In drafting the bill, Johnson and his Web-based initiative, AppRights, held meetings with members of the Internet community, public-interest groups, app developers, and other industry stakeholders. AppRights stated: “Over the coming days, we will release helpful clarifications of the updated provisions of the APPS Act so that everyone is on the same page.” It is not yet clear when the bill will be introduced to Congress as possible legislation.

Continue Reading Rep. Johnson Releases Discussion Draft of Mobile App Privacy Bill Following NTIA’s 8th Meeting Concerning a Voluntary Code of Conduct

As noted in our coverage of the inaugural Privacy Multistakeholder Meeting, NTIA promised to release meeting notes and the results of informal polls taken during the meeting.  This information is now available on NTIA’s website, and includes notes in document format and images of the flipcharts used during the meeting.

Additionally, NTIA has

Yesterday marked the inaugural Privacy Multistakeholder Meeting at the Department of Commerce, hosted by the National Telecommunication & Information Administration (“NTIA”).  The meeting brought together representatives of technology companies, advertisers, consumer groups, and  other stakeholders for a discussion of mobile application transparency and the process for future discussions and meetings.  While the meeting did not bring consensus on either process or goals, it did engender considerable discussion between a large number of participants, both in-person and through the online meeting tool.

Representatives from NTIA worked with an outside facilitator to solicit stakeholder views on 1) potential key elements of a mobile transparency policy and 2) methods that the group might employ to move the conversation forward in the future. The use of the facilitation process itself generated a considerable amount of debate and substantive discussions were often interrupted by questions about or objections to the process.

By the end of the day, the participants had generated a substantial list of items to consider during future meetings and had informally “voted” to express whether they felt the item needed to be addressed early in the process.  John Verdi, Director of Privacy Initiatives, stated that the list of ideas and the results of the informal poll would be released next week.  Verdi also announced that NTIA would schedule an additional meeting in August, though no specific date was announced.

Continue Reading Recapping the NTIA Multistakeholder Meeting

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) sought public comment Wednesday on how to begin the process of developing voluntary codes of conduct governing consumer privacy, as called for in the privacy framework released by the White House last month.

That report argues that companies should follow seven basic principles — a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights — when collecting, using, or disclosing consumers’ personal data. These principles are: individual control; transparency; respect for context; security; access and accuracy; focused collection; and accountability.

The framework calls on Congress to codify the general principles through legislation while stakeholders develop voluntary codes of conduct to implement the principles in particular sectors. The framework tasks the NTIA with setting up an open process in which all interested stakeholders — including companies, consumer advocates, and government officials — would develop conduct codes by consensus.

Continue Reading NTIA Seeks Comment on Beginning Conduct-Code Discussions

On Thursday, July 14, 2011 two Subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and Communications and Technology) will hold a joint hearing entitled “Internet Privacy:  The Views of the FTC, the FCC, and NTIA.”  The hearing, which is the first in a series of anticipated dialogues aimed at