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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released today a new report calling on Internet companies to put in place a "Do Not Track" system that would give consumers more control over their personal data online by the end of the year . The FTC also called on Congress to pass privacy legislation that would allow consumers to see how their online data is collected, used and sold, and give consumers the ability to stop such practices.
Given the FTC’s limited authority, pressuring Internet giants to voluntarily enact "Do Not Track" policies is perhaps the best it can do. But even the FTC itself recognized in its report that “…to date, self-regulation has not gone far enough.” Given the industry's spotty record respecting consumer privacy, and limited definition of "Do Not Track" protections thus far, reliance on self-regulation by the FTC is insufficient to protect consumer’s personal information on the web.
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