Shop.org and NRF Comment on Boucher Privacy Bill

2 Comments | This entry was posted in @Shop.org, Public Policy

Privacy is a hot topic in Washington these days.  You might remember that the FTC published “Self-regulatory Principles” for Online behavioral advertising practices in early 2009. 

Now Congressman Rick Boucher, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, is circulating draft legislation that adopts many of the concepts of the self-regulatory principles, but broadens their scope far beyond behavioral targeting, to cover any and all collection of consumer data, both online and off. 

This is a sweeping proposal and may push us closer to, or even eclipse, the European Union’s privacy regime. NRF and Shop.org submitted comments to Rep. Boucher and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Rep. Cliff Stearns.  Shop.org is very concerned about restricting information collection and use, especially given the troubles retailers are already facing in this challenging economy.  Hearings on the proposal are expected this summer, but no bill has been officially introduced yet.  It is our understanding that Boucher will have a high volume of comments to read through on this initial proposal.

Shop.org will continue to closely monitor the progress of this bill and other privacy developments in Washington.  As always, we welcome industry input and participation.  One of the best ways is to be a part of Shop.org’s Policy Advisory Group.

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2 Comments

  1. Wilson
    Posted June 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Great letter from the NRF, it covers a lot of points that need to be considered.

    I want to make one point, though, that I strongly feel we in the marketing/retail industries need to consider: the cited concerns regarding consumer indifference towards information presented by enterprises is, I would contend, our own failure as enterprises, not the fault of simple ongoing human inattention to perceived-unimportant matters. Consumers, in my view, have grown to toss out corporate communications and ignore e-mails because, going back long before the information age, we as marketers have grossly violated the privilege of communication we have with consumers. The worst examples – by major and reputable organizations, no less – include physical letters sent which implicitly deceive the consumer with notices such as “Important, time-sensitive information enclosed!” only to be revealed as mere push-marketing to entice (somehow…) a consumer to get (another) credit card, or the like. Benign, but still ultimately counter-productive, examples include the weekly emails some organizations churn out with insensitivity to the desires of their consumer base. So we, ourselves, I contend have co-created the information glut and we have degraded the value of information we need to share with our customers. It ultimately is on us to fix that, and frankly even if legislation goes too far it’s only a healthy correction for us to drastically revise the ways we communicate with our customers.

  2. Posted June 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I want to make one point, though, that I strongly feel we in the marketing/retail industries need to consider: the cited concerns regarding consumer indifference towards information presented by enterprises is, I would contend, our own failure as enterprises, not the fault of simple ongoing human inattention to perceived-unimportant matters. Consumers, in my view, have grown to toss out corporate communications and ignore e-mails because, going back long before the information age, we as marketers have grossly violated the privilege of communication we have with consumers. The worst examples – by major and reputable organizations, no less – include physical letters sent which implicitly deceive the consumer with notices such as “Important, time-sensitive information enclosed!” only to be revealed as mere push-marketing to entice (somehow…) a consumer to get (another) credit card, or the like. Benign, but still ultimately counter-productive, examples include the weekly emails some organizations churn out with insensitivity to the desires of their consumer base. So we, ourselves, I contend have co-created the information glut and we have degraded the value of information we need to share with our customers. It ultimately is on us to fix that, and frankly even if legislation goes too far it’s only a healthy correction for us to drastically revise the ways we communicate with our customers.

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