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1P-23-1213 Privacy and Security Blue Paper

1P-23-1213 Privacy and Security Blue Paper

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Published by: 4imprint on Jan 06, 2014
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01/06/2014

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4imprint.com
Privacy and Security
 
© 2013 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Privacy and security online: What is the corporate impact?
In June 2013, Edward Snowden fueled the debate on privacy and democracy in the digital age. He was called everything from a traitor to a hero when he revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been eavesdropping on private citizens through cell phones, laptops, Facebook
®
, Skype
®
, chat-rooms and more. One of the first documents released by Snowden showed that the NSA was collecting telephone records from millions of customers of Verizon
®
, one of the largest U.S. telecommunications providers.
1
 The Snowden affair raises a number of questions pertaining to consumer privacy and security rights. NSA officials and other intelligence agencies claim that these activities are constitutional and occur under the umbrella of rigorous congressional and judicial oversight, and that it’s essential in order to protect the public from terrorist attacks. But civil liberties groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union warn that this type of surveillance goes beyond what Congress intended and violates constitutional rights. At the heart of the issue is whether or not Americans have rights when it comes to protecting their personal data. A number of laws and regulations pertaining to this are currently being debated that will likely affect how corporations collect and maintain consumer data.Last year, President Obama introduced the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to protect consumer rights online. In the report, the President noted that “[never] has privacy been more important than today, in the age of the Internet, the World Wide Web and smartphones.”
2
 The legislation is designed to give consumers a clear understanding of what to expect from companies that handle their personal information and defines basic principles for companies that use personal data, and now many companies wonder what this means and how it will be implemented. In the meantime, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues to enforce the existing regulations designed to protect consumer rights. As of October 2013, the FTC has brought 47 legal actions against organizations that have violated consumers’ privacy rights, or misled them by failing to maintain security for sensitive consumer information. Most of the cases violated the Federal Trade
1 Powell, Kenton, and Greg Chen. “NSA Files Decoded: Edward Snowden’s Surveillance Revelations Explained.” The Guardian. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/nov/01/  snowden-nsa-files-surveillance-revelations-decoded>. 2 Meece, Mickey. “President Obama’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.”
Forbes
. Forbes Magazine, 23 Feb. 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/mickeymeece/2012/02/23/president-obamas-consumer-privacy-bill-of-rights/>.
 
© 2013 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Commission Act Section 5 which bars unfair and deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce. In addition to the FTC Act, there are 33 other laws, rules and guides that provide the agency with enforcement authority to protect consumers’ privacy. It’s a lot to take in and can leave many organizations wondering what they should be doing to protect consumer data within the confines of the law. This Blue Paper
®
 looks at the landscape of consumer privacy and security, particularly how it applies to U.S. corporations. The paper begins with a synopsis on consumer data and a review of the current landscape of privacy controls in the United States. The paper also highlights the directives from the Federal Trade Commission and the suggested best practices corporations should implement to protect consumer data. The final section explores some of the privacy controls in other countries, and how it may impact U.S. corporations that operate globally. Prepare for a journey into a maze of confusion, because privacy and security online is a moving target, but there are some things your corporation should know to be in compliance and protect consumer data appropriately. 
The truth about consumer data
Consumers understand that businesses, governments and other organizations gather data about them online. There’s a general acceptance that you leave a digital footprint anytime you go online to make purchases or simply surf the Web. Personal details about consumers are also online because they are shared willingly through chats or social sites like Facebook
®
, Twitter
®
 or LinkedIn
®
. And don’t forget there is consumer data available through government agencies that are fully searchable. For example, users can view and search real estate transactions and obtain information on a home and its value. Even things like birth certificates and signature copies can be found online. And it is widely accepted and understood that businesses use consumer information to help complete transactions, remember consumer preferences, deliver personalized content and special offers, as well as save consumers time. It’s common for businesses to track website page views and the number of unique visitors to a website, among other things.So, how do Americans feel about privacy online? According to a study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project Data
®
, most Internet users would like to be anonymous online but think it is not possible. The study found that 86 percent of Internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask digital footprints, by

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