The Future of Privacy Policies: A Privacy Nutrition Label Filled with Fair Information Practices
36 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2009 Last revised: 7 Aug 2009
Date Written: June 1, 2009
Privacy policies can be effective if companies clearly and conspicuously discuss how their privacy terms relate to fair information practices (FIPs). FIPs are widely agreed upon guidelines covering the most important areas of the data trade - PII collection, use, storage and dissemination. The Federal Trade Commission has designated the five core FIPs to be notice, choice, access, integrity and enforcement. This article argues that a standardized privacy nutrition label - similar to the labels required by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act - posted conspicuously on all e-commerce homepages can increase policy effectiveness. These federally mandated labels require companies to discuss their privacy practices in relation to each Key FIP. Although companies need not adopt specific policy terms or run their practices through a governmental clearinghouse, they must honestly disclose their practices. This is true of even the most unpopular practices such as external PII dissemination. Over time, consumers will become aware of these standardized labels, begin to understand FIPs, differentiate between privacy-protective and privacy-invasive practices and make better decisions before submitting PII.
Keywords: online privacy, privacy policies, e-commerce law
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