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Friday, March 24, 2006

Federal Chief Privacy Officer Needed

I know, the last thing we need is more layers of government, but for ecommerce to continue to grow and for the public to feel comfortable online, we really need to have a federal Chief Privacy Officer.

The Federal Trade Commission should have a post dedicated to protecting consumer privacy online so that companies such as Gratis Internet don't allegedly violate the public trust and cast a pall over online marketers. Currently the FTC has five commissioners, but none are privacy specialists.

FCPO could work with marketing institutions such as the IAB and DMA and the medical and financial sectors to set and enforce standards and be given power to levy significant fines, and would work with law enforcement if privacy infractions reach into the criminal realm.

The role would also benefit national security, and the idea was floated in Congress two years ago but appears to have gone nowhere.

If the FCC can fine broadcasters tens of millions for wardrobe malfunctions, then surely the FCPO should be able to bring the hammer down on privacy punks. The perfect person for the job is Eliot Spitzer, so maybe he'd accept it if he loses the governor's race in New York.

By Jason Dowdell at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

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