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OTA Asks FTC For Standardized Privacy And More Browser Controls

OTA recommends a three-fold approach

Seattle, WA " December 21, 2009 " The Online Trust Alliance today submitted public comments supporting the upcoming FTC Privacy Roundtable to be held on January 28th in Berkeley, California. OTA recommends a three-fold approach; 1) advancement of a standardized Privacy & Data Collection Statement, 2) Increased integration of privacy based browser controls and 3) encourage businesses to advise consumers to upgrade when using insecure browsers.

Not unlike a health department rating for a restaurant, an automotive "Monroney" Sticker or a nutrition label on a food product, a standardized framework is required to enable consumers to make informed choices regarding any data collection during online activities A conceptual Privacy & Data Collection Statement, is recommended for all sites, online services, email marketers as well as retail points of collection which collect and track consumer behavior data.

"A framework which empowers consumers to make informed decision on the sharing their data and the use of a browser with integrated privacy controls is essential to the vitality of the digital life style" said Craig Spiezle, Executive Director of the Online Trust Alliance. "In this period with online trust being eroded by cybercrime and deceptive business practices, those businesses who are early adopters will realize a "trust dividend" in the eyes of the consumer and in the wallets of the stockholders, said Spiezle".

Advancing consumer controls and notice are core to OTA's Online Principles. The benefits includes providing consumers: 1) a concise and comparative view to how sites will use their data; 2) an understanding of the value they are receiving, and 3) an ability to manage their data that they submit or which may have previously been collected. Businesses benefit by: 1) consumers realizing an increased trust and confidence in their brand and 2) an ability to differentiate their business practices.

Today most browsers provide features and settings to aid consumers in maintaining their privacy though their implementation and usability are limited, and discoverability is extremely low. OTA encourages browser vendors to continue to innovate for the benefit of the consumer, while providing web sites the ability to know when such features are enabled. In order to maximize consumer control, these features are recommended to be 1) integrated into the browser, 2) discoverable, 3) intuitive and 4) provide teachable moments that all segments of users can easily comprehend.

To accelerate consumer protection, OTA is calling on all commence, financial services and government sites to encourage users to upgrade their outdated and insecure browsers. Yesterday's browsers lack the essential data security and privacy controls, as well malware and phishing protection, which present a significant threat to their personal data and privacy.

Through a combination of standardized notice, integrated browser controls and teachable moments, these recommendations support the FTC goals, while helping to maximize online trust and confidence and the long-term vitality of online marketing, advertising and consumer services.

OTA FTC Public Comments (PDF)

About The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) https://otalliance.org/ The mission of OTA is to create a trusted global online ecosystem and foster the elimination of email and Internet fraud, abuse and cybercrime; thereby enhancing trust, confidence, and the protection of businesses and consumers. Through its member companies and organization affiliates, OTA represents over one million businesses and 500 million users worldwide with regional chapters in Asia Pacific, Canada and Europe. OTA is a 501c6 IRS-approved non-profit, governed by a Board and Steering Committee including Bank of America, BoxSentry, Cisco System, Datran Media, Epsilon, Iconix, Internet Identity, Intersections Inc, MarkMonitor, Message Systems, Microsoft Corporation, McAfee, Publishers Clearing House, Return Path, Secunia, Symantec Corporation, TRUSTe and VeriSign.

For media-related inquiries contact:

Liz Shambaugh Online Trust Alliance [email protected] 425-785-7234

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