Earlier this week two important government officials made significant comments about the importance of protecting consumer information online. In an on-the-record interview with New York Times
editors and reporters, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz and Director of Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection David Vladeck reaffirmed their belief
As Vladeck pointed out, this is a rotten deal. “The literature is clear,” he said, very few people ever read privacy policies and fewer people understand them (Research has shown
that the majority of privacy policies require more than 14 years of education to understand usually requires the reading comprehension level associated with having a college education!). Notice and consent, said Vladeck, “depended on the fiction that people were meaningfully giving consent.”
In the interview, Vladeck also touched on other pressing challenges to consumer privacy. He mentioned, for example, that when customers aren’t allowed to complete a transaction without agreeing to allow their data to be sold, they may be put in a situation that’s not entirely “fair,” using a loaded and important
word in FTC parlance.