Protecting Consumers in the Digital Age
NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell shares his vision for strong and enforceable consumer protections in the internet age.
NCTA’s member companies are firmly committed to safeguarding our customers’ personal information. With more of our daily lives taking place online, consumers deserve consistency, control, and confidence when it comes to their personal information. NCTA and our member companies are calling for a technology neutral federal data privacy law that protects consumers while promoting responsible data uses. We urge Congress to enact such a privacy law that establishes a new framework for today’s digital economy.
A comprehensive federal privacy law would enable consumers to enjoy transparency, choice, and security with respect to how their data is handled, regardless of where they are or what product or service they are using. Federal legislation should accomplish, at the very least:
Hold all parties doing business, both online and offline, to the same standards for how consumer personal data is used, shared, and protected
Empower consumers with simple ways to access and control the use of their personal data while preserving beneficial opportunities that lead to new innovations and customized services.
Ensure that consumers are clear about how their data is being collected and used, and require all parties collecting data to take reasonable physical, technical, and administrative security measures to protect that data.
Codify the Federal Trade Commission’s role as the preeminent national agency that oversees privacy and enhance the FTC’s enforcement tools.
The Internet Doesn’t Stop at State Lines. Imagine someone lives in one state and works in another like the residents of the Chicago or Kansas City areas; or perhaps they live in California but ordered a pair of shoes from Texas. The way things work now, Americans’ privacy protections may change when they cross state lines, as they commute to work, or build an online business. With a federal law, location won’t dictate protection — Americans will covered uniformly.
Accountability Deters Bad Behavior. As it stands today, online privacy boils down to how much someone trusts each website they visit or app they download. With a federal law, all parties collecting data would play by the same rules enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Clear accountability, enforced by the long standing expertise of the FTC would deter bad behavior and encourage beneficial innovation.
Individuals Care About Their Customer Experience. Each individual has a different level of comfort when it comes to sharing personal information, be it online or offline. Some want to be as off-the-grid as possible while others appreciate a well targeted ad for a product for which they’ve been searching. People are already at the center of the online experience, a federal law would help to honor consumers’ choices and give them control.