Things Happening in Privacy Too

by Jeff Sovern

Last week, we linked to Ed Mierzwinski's post about complaints about CFPB information-gathering processes.  There's more.  Over at the Taking Charge blog, Fred Williams has a post on the CFPB data collection, Privacy Agencies Say Don't Worry: Consumer Bureau is No Spy.  Here's an excerpt:

"I am not aware of any privacy or consumer group that has raised these issues," said David Jacobs, consumer protection counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. EPIC has taken on the NSA in court over its telephone record collection, as part of its focus on government intrusions on privacy.

"If Congress was truly concerned with consumer privacy, they should pass comprehensive consumer privacy legislation," Jacobs added.


Onto real, rather than manufactured, privacy topics.  On Monday, the Times ran a story, Attention, Shoppers: Store Is Tracking Your Cell about how stores use signals from phones to determine how much time particular shoppers spend at various points around the stores, how often the shopper returns to the store, and other things. Interestingly, when Nordstrom posted a sign that it was tracking customers in this way, customer complaints caused it to back down. But no law I'm aware of obliges companies to let their customers know they are engaging in such practices, which makes me wonder how many stores do this without notfiying their customers. It also suggests that legislators should consider enacting such a disclosure law.

And another story: According to yesterday's Times, ‘Do Not Track’ Rules Come a Step Closer to an Agreement.  Here's an excerpt:

Web users should be able to tell advertising networks not to show them targeted advertisements based on their browsing activities — and those companies should comply. That is the verdict of the leaders of a working group that has been arguing for almost two years over how to establish a uniform Do Not Track standard for the Internet.


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