FTC Emphasizes Aim to Protect Consumers’ Privacy

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission emphasized to Congress that protecting consumers’ privacy on-line and off-line and every where in between – through law enforcement, education and policy initiatives – is a top priority at the agency.

The FTC’s law enforcement initiatives have included hundreds of privacy-related actions, including 34 cases challenging the practices of companies that failed to adequately protect consumers’ personal information; more than 100 spam and spyware cases; and 16 cases for violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. It also has brought 64 cases against companies for improperly calling consumers on the Do Not Call registry; and 86 cases against companies violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

In addition to law enforcement, the agency has distributed millions of copies of educational materials to consumers and businesses about privacy and security issues. As recently as last month, the FTC issued a new consumer education guide, “Understanding Mobile Apps: Questions and Answers.”

The FTC is also determined to take an active role in shaping policy for consumer privacy, including the issuance of a staff preliminary privacy report late last year and a call for industry to develop tools to allow consumers to control how their activities are tracked when they surf the Internet.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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by Judith