Commerce Department Kicks off Multistakeholder Process for Consumer Privacy Codes of Conduct

In the wake of the White House’s February 23, 2012 release of Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting and Promoting Innovation in a Global Digital Economy (“Framework”), the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published in today’s Federal Register a request for public comments from all interested stakeholders on consumer data privacy issues to be addressed through enforceable voluntary codes of conduct. Comments are due on March 26, 2012.

Although any topic is fair game, NTIA opens the process by signaling that implementation of the Framework’s transparency principle in privacy notices for mobile applications is among the agency’s highest priorities. Also listed as a specific topic on which NTIA seeks comment are other issues associated with mobile apps, including location based services. Cloud computing, online services directed toward teens and children, trusted identity systems, and the use of multiple technologies such as browser-based cookies to collect personal data also are highlighted as areas for comment.

NTIA also seeks comment on how the multistakeholder process should be conducted so as to best ensure openness, transparency, and consensus building. These comments are the first part of this process aimed at developing voluntary industry codes of conduct that eventually be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.