The Federal Trade Commission's public comment period on its preliminary staff report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers, has closed. The FTC received over 300 comments during the extended comment period, including several states.
It is looking more likely that some form of privacy regulation -- either at the FTC or Congress -- will develop in 2011. Several bills have been introduced in this Congress and both the FTC and the Commerce Department are working on their proposals. "Self-regulation," the mantra of the online advertising industry, may no longer be a viable option, unless industry acts and acts quickly to provide consumers with the level of choice and transparency that the FTC's Privacy Framework outlines.
In fact, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz today recommended exactly that in an interview with Multichannel News, posted here. "I guess I would say that the business community really has it in its hands to avoid regulation, it just has to step up to the plate," he said.