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FTC Privacy Report Calls for 'Do Not Track' and Data Broker Disclosure


"...consumers have no idea that the information's being collected or how it's being monetized and sold."

NEW YORK (The Blaze/AP) -- The Federal Trade Commission is calling for legislation that would give citizens access to the information that commercial data brokers store about them.

The proposal is an unusually tough one from an agency that prefers to coax companies into adopting voluntary principles. A month ago, Obama administration officials outlined a proposed "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" and urged technology companies, consumer groups and others to jointly craft new protections.

(Related: Companies agree to 'do not track,' White House proposes 'privacy bill of rights')

In a privacy report released this week, the FTC is urging the adopting of a law that would let consumers access and dispute personal data held by information brokers.

The report comes as the business of background checks is booming. An investigation by The Associated Press last year found that data brokers often store incorrect or outdated information, including criminal records.

PC World has more from the FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz:

"It's not like you're going on Amazon or you're going on Netflix and you have a direct interface with the company ... whose site you're on," Leibowitz said. "We're talking about data brokers who online and off collect information and consumers have no idea that the information's being collected or how it's being monetized and sold."

The FTC is asking data brokers to develop an industry-wide Web portal that would identify the companies and explain what information they collect and how they use it.

PC World states that the FTC's report could be broken into three themes:

1. Privacy should be incorporated into new products and services by design.

2. Businesses should provide consumers with simplified ways to control their information.

3. Corporate data collection practices should be transparent to the public.

Leibowitz said that the report doesn't include a "do not track mandate" as he is "hopeful" it can get implemented by companies without legislation.

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