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IP: U.S. Is Said to Seek New Law to Bolster Internet Privac
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 07:07:05 -0400

May 19, 2000
U.S. Is Said to Seek New Law to Bolster 

Internet Privacy

WASHINGTON, May 19 -- Concluding that companies on the Internet have not 
properly protected the privacy of consumers, the Federal Trade Commission 
has decided to ask Congress for authority to impose tough consumer privacy 
safeguards, government officials said today.

In an unannounced vote taken today, the commission approved a staff 
recommendation to seek legislation giving the agency such authority. The 
action comes after the recent completion of a survey by the commission that 
found that only about 20 percent of major companies on the Internet had 
adequate standards for protecting the privacy of Internet users.

The commission's decision comes as the agency has stepped up its 
investigation of major Internet companies over their use of consumer data. 
It represents a sharp departure from the agency's previous policy of 
relying almost entirely on the industry to police itself. But lawmakers 
said that the prospects were not strong for Congress to adopt legislation 
so late in the session.

The legislation sought by the commission would permit it to regulate the 
kinds of notice given to consumers about use of information regarding them, 
as well as whether consumers can block that use.

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