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FTC Releases Privacy Report, Pushes for “Do Not Track” Button

(The Federal Trade Commisssion has released a new report on online privacy issues, including issues as they relate to mobile phone use. The FTC also pushed for an easy use “do not track” button for consumers using the Web. The webpage for the Chinese version of Facebook is seen on a computer screen in Hong Kong on February 2, 2012.)

Photo by aaron tam/AFP/Getty Images

Ever have that feeling you’re being watched online? By the end of the year you may be able let go of that anxiety.

A month after the White House pushed a privacy bill of rights for consumers, the FTC has released a report addressing consumer privacy concerns. The commission also pledges an easy-to-use “Do Not Track,” button Internet users can click so their data isn’t collected.

The FTC will work with companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook who have been criticized in recent years for obtaining data surreptitiously, to make sure they get “affirmative express consent” from consumers before using their data. Google and Apple faced backlash as recently as February, for collecting data from apps targeted at children. 

The report focused specifically on mobile data collection, important now because nearly 43 percent of mobile phone subscribers are reportedly using smartphones.

Granted, it’s all a bit like Big Brother regulating Big Brother. But somebody’s got to watch the people who watch you, right? 

Video produced by Krishnan Vasuvedan