CDD on Obama Adm Privacy Plan: Legislation Required; All Issues on Table; Equity for NGOs; Youth a Key Focus

Today we filed Comments on the Obama Administration’s privacy plan via the Dep’t of Commerce proceeding. Highlights below.

Need for Legislation: We have said from the beginning of this process that the reliance on multi-stakeholder negotiations to effectively protect consumer welfare, including privacy, is a flawed approach….what is required is more courageous action by the Obama Administration: the submission to Congress of draft legislation that implements the CPBR principles. Multi-stakeholder Negotiations Must Address the Full Scope of the CPBR Principles at Each Stage: In order for any “code of conduct” to be developed, each issue (such as mobile applications, ethnic/racial digital profiling, youth online marketing, real-time targeting) must reflect all of the administration’s Privacy Bill of Rights. Stakeholders Should Decide the Topics, not the Administration: The administration should respect the independence of the multi-stakeholder process to identify issues for negotiation. Commit to the W3C’s Do-Not-Track Multi-stakeholder Process: The administration should clarify that it fully supports the multi-stakeholder process now underway by the World Web Consortium’s Tracking Protection Working Group. The support by the White House of the Digital Advertising Alliance’s closed-door, non-transparent, and non-representative work on Do-Not-Track suggests there is a lack of serious commitment to an independent and participatory multi-stakeholder process. The Department of Commerce should immediately recognize that the WC3’s work on Do-Not-Track is part of the development of meaningful new codes of conduct… All Issues Must Be on the Table, with No Exemptions for Self-regulatory Codes: Some digital data collection trade groups have suggested, in recent Congressional testimony, that the multi-stakeholder deliberations “should target only those issues that are not subject to existing statutory regimes or self-regulatory programs…” The administration should reject such a self-serving suggestion, which would deprive U.S. consumers of having fairly negotiated codes of conduct. Industry self-regulatory codes have been developed without public input, and already have drawn criticism from leading scholars. All issues must be addressed if this process is to have credibility Ensuring a Transparent and Open Process: these deliberations must be public…We urge that they be Webcast, and that there is a robust mechanism put in place for both the news media and the public to be informed of the proceedings… Issues related to both Children and Adolescents Should Be Addressed in Every Topic Identified for a Code of Conduct: Rather than addressing young people under a separate code of conduct, we support identifying the child and adolescent issues raised by each issue Concerns on the International Role for the Multi-stakeholder Negotiations and Codes of Conduct: We have grave reservations about the U.S. attempting to negotiate a “code of conduct” as the equivalent of formal law (such as in the EU) or where effective new consumer protection laws are required (such as in South America or the Asia Pacific markets). There isn’t a one-size-protects-all privacy regime that can be exported from the U.S Ensuring an Informed Discussion About the Digital Data Collection Landscape: One cannot easily choose a small piece of the puzzle (such as the “low-hanging fruit” of mobile privacy) to tackle, because all types of data collection and analysis are intrinsically connected to the fundamental forces shaping privacy in the commercial digital era. Ensuring Civil Society Participation, Especially Independent NGOs: We support the “Principles for Multi-Stakeholder Process” endorsed by leading NGOs on February 23, 2012 (with the leadership of the World Privacy Forum)… There must be robust civil society involvement in each deliberation, with sufficient levels of participation to ensure an effective—not marginal—contribution.